The term “Doctor to the Stars,” as a reference to doctors who treat Hollywood celebrities, may be familiar to most people, but “Doctor to the Olympic and World Championship Stars” is altogether a new and different concept. Well, we have found just such a doctor in a rather unlikely locale. Dr. David Pascal, who hails from the town of Cary, in Wake County, North Carolina, treats some of the top track and field athletes in the US and in the world today.
The recent World Track and Field Championships held in Berlin, Germany, also known as the World Athletics Championships, netted 22 medals for the US team, seven of which were won by athletes currently treated by Dr. Pascal.
This achievement stands as an encore to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in which Dr. Pascal was currently treating or had treated 43 athletes competing in the Games. The results: 10 Gold, five Silver and five Bronze medals—a statistic that places him as one of the top winning doctors/nutritionists on the world-class athletic circuit.
Dr. Pascal grew up in Los Angeles, where he was the City Cross-Country Champion, ran the fastest mile at the California State Track & Field Championships, and was awarded the coveted moniker of “Athlete of the Year.” He ran cross-country and track for UCLA, where he set the NCAA Intramural National Record for 800 meters, and was a member of the NCAA National Championship Track & Field Dual Meet Team.
He was sponsored by Nike while competing for the Santa Monica Track Club (ranked as the #1 track team in the world at the time), and for the US Team on the World Tour (Zurich, Berlin, Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo). He has run the metric equivalent of a 3:57 mile, and was the 1,500-meter Champion at the 1983 World Games in Helsinki, Finland.
As a follow-up to his outstanding running career, Dr. Pascal graduated from UCLA in 1984 and from Palmer College of Chiropractic-West in 1988, with a doctorate in chiropractic.
As a chiropractor, Dr. Pascal has been treating and creating miracles with high school, college and world-class athletes for more than 23 years. His experience not only includes work with Olympic track and field stars but has spanned other sports and athletic disciplines as well. From 1990 to 1991, he worked with the Women’s Pro Beach Volleyball tour, with gymnasts at the World Gymnastic Championships in 1991 and with golfers from 1994 to 1998 on the PGA Nike Golf tour.
When asked about his most memorable sports moment, it’s in Berlin. “Walking into any Olympic stadium is truly a powerful emotional experience, but Berlin, the site of the controversial 1936 Olympics, where Jesse Owens bested Hitler and Nazi Germany when he won the Gold, is beyond words.”
When we inquired what he does for his athletes, Dr. Pascal explained: “Being a full-time competitor means an increased risk of injury. At this level of competition, athletes have to make sure to take care of their entire body, and that includes its recovery. Sports nutrition and supplementation play a key role in minimizing any damage, improving recovery and repair, increasing endurance and stamina, and preventing any mineral deficiencies, which could lead to debilitating muscle pulls and cramps.”
“When athletes first come to me, many of them have a history of cramping up. They get muscle cramps in their workouts and even in their races. When that happens, I know they do not have enough magnesium in their bodies.”
“Cramping is a very serious business for these competitors,” said Dr. Pascal. “It doesn’t matter how many gold medals you have or how many world records you’ve set, if you get a muscle cramp, you’re going to fall flat on your face, and that’s the end of it.”
“As you sweat, you’re going to be losing magnesium, which is water soluble. In addition, you’ll be sweating out electrolytes, and, of course, water, too. These losses mean that the ratio of calcium to magnesium will be changing in the body, and the percentage of calcium will increase. And since calcium is a muscle contractor, the muscles cramp, and that’s it.
“Additionally, most people think that they have a problem with heat due to the high temperature or humidity,” Dr. Pascal added. “This isn’t true. Heat builds up in the cells primarily because there are not enough minerals and electrolytes to carry the heat out of the cells. If there are enough of these elements along with water, it wouldn’t matter how hot it was—the cells would never overheat, and people would never get heat stroke, because the minerals would transfer the heat out of the cells.”
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“Most athletes,” says Dr. Pascal, “are deficient in the key minerals of magnesium and calcium, which help muscles fire properly. Some need more magnesium, and I prescribe Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm®. Some need both magnesium and calcium, and I prescribe the sports formula Natural Calm® Plus Calcium. I like to use the Natural Calm Plus Calcium because it has 350 milligrams of magnesium and 230 milligrams of calcium in a water-soluble form. You’re getting 50 percent more magnesium, which is good because most athletes—and most people in general—tend to have a high amount of calcium in their diets and not enough magnesium. It also has other elements, such as potassium, vitamin D3, vitamin C and boron, to increase its assimilation. Best of all, Natural Vitality’s unique formulation has a high bioavailability, so the body can actually use what it is taking. The results speak for themselves. When they use these products, none of my athletes cramp or pull muscles. It just doesn’t happen!”
Dr. Pascal is often asked, “Why magnesium”? His response is direct: “You have to understand that magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in the body and that it activates more than 300 vital chemical reactions that make the body hum like Lance Armstrong on the Tour de France. Every athlete needs it due to the mental and physical stress of training and competition, which depletes this mineral on a constant basis. Regular and consistent supplementation is vital.
He also has an opinion regarding multivitamins. “We just don’t get the nutrients we need from food anymore. Our food and soil have been degraded over time. A highly absorbable liquid multivitamin not only ensures proper maintenance of the body, but ensures that athletes actually take them because they can just pour them into their water bottles and drink them on the go. No pills or capsules to sort out or scrape off of the bottom of some sweaty gear bag. I put all of my athletes on Natural Vitality’s Organic Liquid Vitamins®, (OLV). OLV is like the kitchen sink—it has everything in there,” Dr. Pascal said.
“Instead of having to take 12 bottles of something or 20 different pills, you can take one drink of OLV. It has whole-food functional nutrients from organic aloe vera, 24 superfruits, veggies and fruits, and vitamins B, C, A, D and E. It has amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, along with MSM and a full range of trace minerals.”
As the USA brought the curtain down on a memorable 12th World Championship in track and field, one of Dr. Pascal’s patients, LaShawn Merritt, continued his gold medal-winning momentum he created in Beijing by winning his first world championship 400-meter title.
Taking control with a superb sustained drive between 200 and 300 meters, the 23-year-old American cruised to an overwhelming victory in 44.06, replacing his own world-leading 44.37 from the semifinals.
And on the sidelines, a doctor smiles from ear to ear, knowing his work, at least for the day, is done.