Landmark Vitamin Discovery Could Prevent Miscarriages And Birth Defects

The ramifications of this discovery'are likely to be huge, said the study's senior researcher Professor Sally

This historic discovery, believed to be among Australia's greatest ever medical breakthroughs, is expected to change the way pregnant women are cared for around the globe. This indicates pregnant women may require more vitamin B3 than is now available in most vitamin supplements.

Boosting levels of vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, during pregnancy would address a deficiency which can prevent a baby's organs from developing correctly in the womb.

It's vital for energy production, DNA fix and helping the body's cells communicate.

Taking vitamin B3 supplements can significantly prevent miscarriages and birth defects, according to a new landmark Australian study.

Professor Dunwoodie explained that NAD is one of the most important molecules in all living cells.

"Just like we now use folate to prevent spina bifida, Professor Dunwoodie's research suggests that it is probably best for women to start taking vitamin B3 very early on, even before they become pregnant".

When researchers genetically engineered mice with the same gene variants, they found that pups were born with birth defects, but that this could be prevented by giving the mouse mums vitamin B3 during pregnancy.

Scientists discovered this effect by investigating the impact of B3 on mice embryos that had the same genetic mutation that affects the NAD molecule.

It's found in meat, poultry, green vegetables and even Vegemite, yet nearly a third of pregnant women are deficient in the vitamin.

But this doesn't mean our hearts go out to those who have lost their children to miscarriage or birth defect in the past...

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.

"At the moment, the recommendation is to take a standard multivitamin, but we're all different and that will not prevent all women from having babies with birth defects", Dunwoodie told Lara Pearce at Huffington Post.

Scientists are now working on a test to measure levels of NAD, to work out which women have a higher likelihood of miscarriage, and could therefore benefit from a B3 supplement.

'After 12 years of research, our team has discovered that this deficiency can be cured and miscarriages and birth defects prevented by taking a common vitamin'.

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