Vitamin B3 discovery could cut miscarriages, birth defects

Vegemite could be the key to preventing miscarriages and birth defects a study has found

It is expected to change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world.

In a landmark finding, researchers discovered taking Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, could prevent babies developing a range of congenital heart diseases in the womb.

They have called it "a double breakthrough", as they found both a cause and a preventative solution.

But now a new study suggests that there is another vitamin supplement that can have a huge impact on avoiding miscarriages and birth defects and that's vitamin B3, or niacin.

'And with 7.9million babies around the world now being born with birth defects every year, this breakthrough is incredible news'.

A team of Australian researchers have found out a dietary supplement which can avert miscarriages and many other types of birth defects in pregnant women.

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.

The study showed that increasing levels of B3 during pregnancy might help overall rates of birth defects.

"We took her home and we noticed that she was really lethargic and wasn't feeding properly", Jackie said.

"This is the most significant breakthrough in understanding the causes of congenital abnormalities that has hit the world of what I do", said Winlaw at the Children's Hospital Westmead and a study co-author. "And the prevention is so simple, it's a vitamin", she said.

Niacin deficiency is not as widespread as folate deficiency in the population where a balanced diet is being consumed.

The researchers then gave vitamin B3 to mice embryos with similar NAD deficiencies as those seen in some humans.

No one had reported any role for NAD in heart or bone development, Dunwoodie says.

Professor Dunwoodie said: 'Now, after 12 years of research, our team has also discovered that this deficiency can be cured and miscarriages and birth defects prevented by taking a common vitamin.

But it's a very promising start down a new avenue in developmental research, and one with the potential to produce life-changing results for thousands of families.

For many of us, the idea of eating Marmite is pure hell.

Critically important Vitamin B3 is typically found in meats and green vegetables, while most pregnancy multivitamins contain niacin. Testing this on pregnant mice, they found B3 supplements helped prevent these malformations.

By the third trimester, vitamin B3 levels were low in 60 per cent of mums-to-be, experts noted. Fenech observed that high-dose niacin (140 milligrams a day), as recommended by the study authors for women with the identified gene mutation, is significantly higher than the recommended daily intake in the United States. However, a niacin-rich diet let the mutant mice to deliver healthy litters.

She added: "We don't know who these women are that don't make sufficient levels, so that will be the next thing to study".

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