Sydney: Taking a common dietary supplement, which is vitamin B3 can prevent miscarriages and multiple types of birth defects, scientists said today. Every year 7.9 million babies are born with a birth defect worldwide. In the vast majority of cases, the cause of these problems has remained unknown.
Scientists at Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia, demonstrated a remarkably simple cure, in the form of a common dietary supplement.
According to NDTV, this discovery is considered as Australia’s greatest ever medical breakthrough which is expected to change the way pregnant women to care for around the globe. The study was conducted by Professor Sally Dunwoodie from the Victor Chang Institute, researchers identified a major cause of miscarriages as well as heart, spinal, kidney and cleft palate problems in newborn babies.
“The ramifications are likely to be huge. This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world,” said Dunwoodie.
The study found that a deficiency in a vital molecule, known as Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), prevents a baby’s organs from properly developing in the womb. Researchers found that this deficiency is particularly harmful during a pregnancy as it cripples an embryo when it is forming.
“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,” said Dunwoodie.
Vitamin B3 is required to make NAD and is typically found in meats and green vegetables as well as vegemite. However, despite taking vitamin supplements at least a third of pregnant women have low levels of vitamin B3 in their first trimester, which is the critical time in organ development.
By the third trimester, vitamin B3 levels were low in 60 per cent of pregnant women. This indicates pregnant women may require more vitamin B3 than is currently available in most vitamin supplements.
“It’s extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventive solution at the same time. It’s actually a double breakthrough,” said Robert Graham, Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.