'Breakthrough' as scientists discover vitamin can cut birth defects and miscarriages

Mother with her baby

For the synthesis of NAD, vitamin B3 is needed. To this day, the cause of 80% of birth defects is still unknown to scientists, but with the new discovery, pregnant women around the world will now be able to avert these abnormalities like cleft palate, kidney, heart and spinal issues.

Senior researcher Prof Sally Dunwoodie said: 'The ramifications are likely to be huge.

Professor Sally Dunwoodie, from Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, found that vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin, has the ability to cure molecular deficiencies that prohibit the development of embryos and babies' organs and also prevent miscarriages.

Apparently, during their research, by increasing a pregnant woman's vitamin-B intake upped the embryo's NAD levels, which, in turn, could be indicitave of the potential to dramatically slash miscarriage and congenital malformations across the world.

The scientists used genetic sequencing on women who had suffered from miscarriages and birth defects, and found they had specific gene mutation that affected production of the NAD molecule.

The discovery, believed to be among Australia's greatest every medical breakthroughs, is expected to forever change the way pregnant women are cared for across the world.

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Prof 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". Even one of Australia's famous exports, Vegemite contains vitamin B3.

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

To that end, the researchers say the next step will be developing a diagnostic test akin to a pregnancy test, sampling either urine or blood, which could easily show which women could be low in NAD.

By the third trimester, vitamin B3 levels were low in 60 per cent of mums-to-be, experts noted. It's extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventive solution at the same time.

The article also reports on studies showing that NAD deficiency in pregnant mice caused pups to be born with severe birth defects and that those defects could be prevented by vitamin B3 supplementation during pregnancy. "It's actually a double breakthrough", said Robert Graham, Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

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