Ask Rocco: 06/16

Vitamin supplements doctors won’t talk about

By Rocco Castellano

By now, everyone knows my wife is having a baby. It’s literally three weeks away, and I’m just getting around to writing this. A couple of weeks back I wrote about the idiocy of the medical professional when it comes to folate and folic acid. I really wanted to talk more about supplements, doctors and pregnancy, but I only get 900 words a week.

A major flaw in the pregnancy advice that most doctors give out is that they talk about folic acid, which is wrong. It’s folate that is important in helping development in the neural tubes. They also forget to discuss supplements other than prenatal vitamins. Two such supplements are vitamin D and DHA/EPA (omega-3’s).

I will begin with DHA/EPA. These supplements are common in fish oil and supplement the body with much needed omega-3 fatty acids. As a society, we are lacking in consumption of omega-3’s and overindulging in omega-6’s, which happen to be in sunflower, corn, soybean and cottonseed oils. Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory fatty acids. This means, if you take too much in, you will be prone to inflammation within your body. We are supposed to have a little inflammation—like if you get injured and swelling happens. That’s the body’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m hurt. Stop being stupid!”

The problem begins when you take in too much omega-6 because your body starts to create its own inflammatory issues in places like your heart and brain, which we don’t want. There is an optimal ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s, and that ratio should be 4:1 omega-3 to omega-6. If you add certain oils like butter, coconut oil, lard, palm oil and olive oil to your diet and add supplementation of fish oil or krill oil, you will find that balance.

This is especially important when you are pregnant. Most of my readers don’t eat enough fish—and sashimi/sushi rolls on a Friday night aren’t going to cut it. One, because you would be an idiot to eat anything raw while you were pregnant, and two, because little bits and pieces of fish do not equal adequate nutrition.

Fish oil supplementation in our current American culture is a good way to get omega-3’s. This is especially important in pregnancy. As a pregnant woman you want to eliminate as much inflammation as possible. Whatever inflammation you produce will transfer to the fetus, which eventually becomes a baby. Taking the necessary precautions to eliminate this inflammation will aid in the development and growth of your baby’s brain and heart and also benefit the mother.

The other supplement I mentioned earlier is vitamin D, most importantly vitamin D3. This is another nutrient that doesn’t get enough discussion in doctors’ offices and is probably the most important factor in brain function and development. The average person doesn’t even get the recommended 20 minutes of sun a day that keeps our body converting vitamin D. We’re cooped up in our offices all day, eat lunch in some fast food place (no sun), leave work to go home and see no sun.

Dumb, dumber and dumbest.

What’s funny is the government saw this trend many years ago and made milk manufacturers fortify their milk with vitamin D. But now, no one drinks milk, either because they’re f—ing lactose intolerant or think there’s too much fat in milk!!! Stupid is as stupid does, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole. In prenatal vitamins, you will only see 400 IU’s or (international units), which is really not enough… especially if you are deficient already. Most researchers who actually know what they are talking about recommend at least 1,000 IU’s and as much as 4,000 IU’s. Currently, my wife is taking 3,000 IU’s and everything is coming up rosy.

When you are getting all your blood tests in the beginning of the pregnancy, make sure you ask about your vitamin D count. Most doctors won’t even bother with this. Make it a priority.

I alluded to the fact that the deficiency of these nutrients may play a role in the hindrance of brain development. With autism on the rise, many researchers are looking at this deficiency and the role it may be playing in the prevalence of autism. The jury is still out, but if you have the opportunity to make your brain stronger—and your baby’s brain stronger—by taking DHA/EPA and vitamin D, why would you leave brain deficiencies to chance? That’s just stupid. I want you to be smarter: That’s why I write this column every week. Well, sometimes I just rant… but I want you to gain from my experience and become smarter.

When buying supplements, please don’t just look for the cheapest option. Do a little research of your own and discover what you may need, then compare products. Cheap products usually mean cheap ingredients, which means inadequate nutritional value. You want to take something that will help you, not just make a nutraceutical company rich. One of my favorite websites to help my clients compare nutritional products is I am not affiliated with them, but they definitely give you what you will need to make the right decision.

Now, go on. Do some homework and report back to me.

Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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