Ask Rocco: 05/26

Prenatal vitamins and the false security they provide

By Rocco Castellano

Over the past few weeks you may have come to the realization that my wife is pregnant and that the health care system—specifically OB-GYN—sucks. At least from where I’m standing. We finally, at 34 f—ing weeks, were able to find an OB-GYN who didn’t have her head up her ass. Now, with less than four weeks left, the mass of baby shit is descending on me like an avalanche on Mount Everest—and for some reason, I’m actually happy about it. Yeah, me.

In past columns, I’ve written about how my wife’s pregnancy basically sucked for her and how none of the idiot doctors could find a solution to her problem. Even her own mother and grandmother were questioning what the doctors were saying about her overactive salivary glands. The go-to answer: “It’s not typical, but it does happen …and there’s really nothing you can do about it.” So when it came to nutrition, I knew the doctors would be just as brain-dead.

In the beginning of the pregnancy, the midwife assigned to us (I still have no idea why) asked my wife if she was taking prenatal vitamins.

“Of course,” we said.

She nodded her head and went on with a 100 more questions, never asking what kind or what dosage. So when I asked (because I love being an asshole) about the difference between folic acid and folate, the squirming, sweating and stuttering began—and I loved it.

Many health professionals would argue that folate and folic acid are the same nutrient. Those idiots would be wrong. They’re not. Folic acid is very easy to synthesize for supplements, so the vitamin industry will lead you to believe it is good for you and that it is the supplemental form of folate. Wrong.

For women past childbearing age and for men in general, excessive doses of the synthetic (made in a f—ing lab) form is usually not needed—and may even be harmful. Some researchers have hypothesized that the excessive consumption of folic acid in many of our processed foods may stimulate the growth of tumors, which can directly lead to cancer.

And I’m not a big fan … cancer seems to cramp people’s style.

So when people or “doctors” say that folic acid is good, I usually slap them. Folic acid has its risks, but folate, on the other hand, is awesome.

The consumption of folate-rich foods is essential to everyone’s diet, especially for pregnant women. Folate aids the complete development of red blood cells, reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood and supports nervous system function. It is well known for its role in preventing neural tube defects in newborns, so women of childbearing age must be sure to have an adequate intake prior to and during pregnancy.

The best sources of folate are vegetables such as romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets and lentils. Probably every vegetable that would make a pregnant woman vomit but is needed to keep your baby’s brain intact and prevent spina bifida. So eat it. If you don’t like vegetables, calf’s liver or chicken, regular liver will do.

If you’re too f—ing lazy to cook your own food or make a salad, you can buy a supplement with folate but make sure you look for products that list “5-methyltetrahydrofolate” or “5-MTHF” on the label. Try not to be brain-dead when you are pregnant or your unborn child will suffer from your stupidity. Don’t listen to the marketing and dumbass doctors; avoid products that say “folic acid” on the label.

This seems to be a hotbed of controversy, especially coming from a loud-mouthed, profanity spewing, bad-attitude-having mother-f—er, but every word of this is researched and can be substantiated.

Ask your doctor the last time they read a study on folate or folic acid. Most likely it was during the Reagan administration. And if they start squirming, sweating and stuttering when you ask them, laugh and start searching for a new doctor. Your health is more important than your doctor’s or some vitamin company’s wealth.

So far, even with all the bullshit associated with this pregnancy, my wife is braving it like a champ. She’s eating all the right foods, even if she’d rather stick a fork in her eye than eat it, and making sure all of her nutritional needs are met. It is working like a charm.

Every visit to this new doctor brings a smile to her face, which brings a very rare smile to mine. Our unborn baby is growing, kicking, boxing, pulling… Shit, I think she’s having George St-Pierre, and he’s not sleeping, very much like his old man. My wife can’t wait for him to get here (for her own reasons), and I can’t wait to meet him and maybe go a few rounds with him.

Next week, I’m going to give you more research on two specific vitamins essential to brain function for you and your little fetus and tell you why doctors have totally overlooked them and how the lack of these nutrients may be linked to the onset of autism.

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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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