VITAMIN B3 ‘REDUCES BIRTH DEFECTS, MISCARRIAGES’
Aussie scientists discover cure after 12 years of research
SYDNEY correctly in the womb, but could be treated by taking the dietary supplement vitamin B3, also known as niacin.
“Now, after 12 years of research, our team discovered that this deficiency can be cured and miscarriages and birth defects prevented by taking a common vitamin,” said Sally Dunwoodie, a biomedical researcher at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
“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 use those words lightly.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt hailed the study as a “historic medical breakthrough”.
“Today’s announcement provides new hope to the one in four pregnant women who suffer a miscarriage,” Hunt said yesterday, citing Australian data.
“And with 7.9 million babies around the world being born with birth defects every year, this breakthrough is incredible news.”
The scientists used genetic sequencing on families suffering from miscarriages and birth defects and found gene mutations that affected production of the molecule, NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
With Vitamin B3, found in meat and vegetables, needed to make NAD, they tested the effect of taking the supplement on developing mice embryos that had similar NAD deficiencies as human ones, and found a significant change.
“Before Vitamin B3 was introduced into the (mice) mother’s diet, embryos were either lost through miscarriage or the offspring were born with severe birth defects,” the Institute said.
“After the dietary change, the miscarriages and birth defects were completely prevented, with all the offspring born perfectly healthy.”
The researchers said the next step was to develop a test to measure NAD levels to identify which women were most at risk from having a baby with a birth defect, and to then ensure they had sufficient Vitamin B3.
They said current vitamin supplements for pregnant women might not contain sufficient levels of Vitamin B3.
The study was funded by the Australian government as well as private donations. Reuters Tiwa tribesmen performing a traditional dance during the Wanchuwa festival in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam state in India, on Wednesday. Wanchuwa is one of the most important festivals of the Tiwa tribal community, who practise Jhum or shifting cultivation in the hills. The Tiwas pray for a bountiful harvest and protection for their crops from pests and other natural calamities during this festival. EPA PIC