A ‘breakthrough’ study in Australia has discovered that Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, can treat the molecular deficiencies that lead to miscarriage and birth defects.
Vitamin B3 can be found in meats and green vegetables, while a single serving of Marmite (or Vegemite, its Australian counterpart) contains 36 percent of your recommended daily allowance.
Investigating why some women suffer multiple miscarriages, researchers used genetic sequencing to pinpoint a specific gene mutation: one which affected the production of the NAD molecule (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
They then studied the impact of Vitamin B3 upon mice with the same genetic mutation. The mice which were given extra B3 gave birth to healthy babies; the mice which were not miscarried or had babies born with defects.
‘The ramifications are likely to be huge,’ said Professor Sally Dunwoodie, researcher at Sydney’s Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. ‘This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world, and I do not use these words lightly.’
Professor Robert Graham, executive director of the institute, said ‘We believe that this breakthrough will be one of Australia’s greatest medical discoveries. It’s extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventative solution at the same time.’
According to the researchers, the next step is to develop a test for levels of NAD that would identify women who are at a higher risk of miscarriage, and would thus benefit from B3 supplements.