Dirk was one of those patients who was just not sold on the need to take vitamins of any kind. When he was in his 40s, his wife managed to get him to take a daily multi-vitamin, but other than that, he wasn’t interested. Unfortunately, his eating habits left a lot to be desired, too. Dirk’s preferred food was whatever was fast, close, and tasted good. So that meant fast food or prepared meals nearly every day.
I told Dirk that his eating habits were going to catch up with him, and sure enough, they did. When he turned 50, Dirk came in for a physical, and we discovered that he was pre-diabetic, just one-tenth of a point away from full blown diabetes, according to his blood panel.
I assumed that convincing Dirk to give up his morning doughnuts, meatball sandwiches, and giant soft drinks would take some work on my part. Wrong! It turned out that Dirk’s three siblings were all diabetic, and he knew exactly what was in store for him – daily insulin shots, constant blood sugar monitoring, and struggles with weight management. “You tell me what do, Dr. C, and I’ll do it,” he said. “No argument this time. I’ve seen what it means to be diabetic, and I’d rather not go there.”
Dirk and I talked diet and exercise first. Then I mentioned that he only needed to take one supplement – chromium picolinate. When I explained its importance to blood sugar and insulin management, Dirk agreed to take it.
Six months later, Dirk returned for a re-evaluation. Not only was his blood panel nearly perfect, but he also had lost a couple of inches around his waist. And no one was more surprised than Dirk. “I didn’t really think any of this would work,” he confided. “With my family history, it didn’t seem possible not to get diabetes. It wasn’t until the second week or so, when I finally stopped being miserable because I couldn’t have my daily liter of soda, that it dawned on me – I was feeling pretty good! No dragging through the morning, or getting sleepy in the afternoon, no cravings for chips or candy bars. A few days later, I said to my wife, ‘You know, I could get used to living like this. It’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s pretty darn great!’”
That was about five years ago, and Dirk is still free of diabetes and enjoying his life. He’s even added a few more supplements to his daily regimen, including omega-3 essential fatty acids, and a fiber supplement. “I always thought vitamins were like snake oil – mostly a bunch of promises. But you made a believer out of me, and I’m glad you did!”