Vitamin B3 supplements can prevent miscarriages, birth defects
Aug 10 2017 by Kathy Alvarado
Supplementing the diet with vitamin B3 during pregnancy may treat the molecular deficiencies in women that can lead to birth defects, according to a landmark study in Australia.
The study found that a deficiency in the molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, known as NAD, prevents a baby's organs from developing correctly in the womb. At first, no effect was seen and NAD was still produced by the mice.
Professor Sally Dunwoodie, a biomedical researcher at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said: The ramifications are likely to be huge. "This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world and I do not say those words lightly", says Dunwoodie.
The molecular deficiency hinders NAD - a molecule which is essential for energy production, DNA fix and cell communication. There are about 310,000 babies born in Australia each year.
"That was our Eureka moment", Dunwoodie told Gretchen Vogel at Science.
If you're pregnant, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin B3 in foods like eggs, cheese, turkey, salmon, nuts, and seeds or go the supplement route and pick up a bottle at a local drug store.
To test possible treatment mechanisms, the team engineered mice with the same deficiency, using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique. 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.
The researchers added current supplements aimed at pregnant women may not contain sufficient levels of vitamin B3.