Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Vitamin B3 supplements can prevent miscarriages, birth defects

Vitamin B3 supplements can prevent miscarriages, birth defects

Scientists in Australia found niacin, or vitamin B3 could also help prevent multiple types of birth defects.

"The promise is that this could significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and babies born with defects", Dunwoodie said.

Prof Dunwoodie's team found that by simply boosting levels of the nutrient, found in Marmite, during pregnancy can prevent miscarriages and birth defects.

"Arguably, it's the most important discovery for pregnant women since folate", said lead researcher Professor Sally Dunwoodie in an interview with ABC News.

The breakthrough was made possible by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and philanthropic donations to the Victor Chang Institute, including the Chain Reaction Foundation, Key Foundation and the NSW Office of Health and Medical Research.

Found in vegemite, meat and vegetables, Niacin can stop babies' organs developing correctly while also reducing the chances of a miscarriage, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute discovered.

Diets with small amounts of vitamin B3 produced baby mice with fewer abnormalities, and feed rich in the supplement fostered a healthy litter of animals.

The head of the Victor Chang Institute, Professor Bob Graham, said the discovery could potentially help millions of women around the world.

The results from the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have the scientific world buzzing.

For the objective of the research, vitamin B3 was given to pregnant mice and after introducing it to their diet, it completely prevented miscarriages and birth defects in their offspring. "It's extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventative solution at the same time", he added. Such women could then be given vitamin B3 supplements. "It's actually a double breakthrough". "This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world". "And the prevention is so simple, it's a vitamin", she said.

Several years later, the researchers found a similar mutation affecting NAD production in the family of another baby born with congenital problems.

Studies from the United States have shown up to a third of women have low levels of NAD in their blood and aren't getting enough B3 vitamin in their pregnancy supplements.

'After the dietary change, both the miscarriages and birth defects were completely prevented, with all the offspring born perfectly healthy'.

The next step is to develop a test that measures NAD levels in women to identify who are most at risk of having a baby with a birth defect.

Like this: