‘WE NEED TO BET­TER UN­DER­STAND MIS­CAR­RIAGE’

A new study sug­gests that vi­ta­min B3 could stop re­cur­ring mis­car­riages, but Dr Chris­tian is cau­tiously op­ti­mistic

Closer (UK) - - Food -

es­earch has found R a link be­tween vi­ta­min B3 and mis­car­riage, and head­lines have de­scribed it as a “break­through.” The study said vi­ta­min B3 was “con­firmed to prevent birth de­fects,” and even said Mar­mite (which con­tains B-vi­ta­mins) could “prevent mis­car­riage.” That’s a huge over­state­ment.

LACK OF PROOF

The study an­a­lysed the DNA of 13 fam­i­lies where the moth­ers had suf­fered mul­ti­ple mis­car­riages, or where their ba­bies had been born with mul­ti­ple birth de­fects, and four of them had mu­ta­tions in two genes. They then found that these mu­ta­tions could be cor­rected with niacin, or vi­ta­min B3 – but this was done in mice, not hu­mans.

Mis­car­riage is poorly un­der­stood and dif­fi­cult to ex­plain, so it’s great to see new re­search. But don’t rush out to buy Mar­mite and sup­ple­ments, be­cause vi­ta­mins can be toxic in high doses, par­tic­u­larly to foe­tuses – and this isn’t proof it will prevent you mis­car­ry­ing.

I’m scep­ti­cal that a vi­ta­min can re­pair a gene mu­ta­tion. Also, this par­tic­u­lar mu­ta­tion doesn’t cause all mis­car­riages, just some, so it wouldn’t help all pa­tients.

There are many rea­sons a baby can be lost. The ma­jor­ity are caused by ab­nor­mal­i­ties in the baby’s chro­mo­somes, which can’t be pre­vented. Peo­ple worry they can’t ex­er­cise or have sex while preg­nant – they fear that if they’re stressed or emo­tional it will make them mis­carry, but none of that is true.

GOOD NEWS

There are things you can do to pro­tect against mis­car­riage; be a healthy weight, take folic acid be­fore get­ting preg­nant and avoid smok­ing, drink­ing al­co­hol or us­ing drugs dur­ing preg­nancy. How­ever, it’s a com­plex topic and there are lots of causes.

A pa­tient of mine en­dured two mis­car­riages, and was dread­ing hav­ing another, but only around one in 100 women ex­pe­ri­ence re­cur­rent mis­car­riages (three or more in a row) and more than 60 per cent of these women go on to have a suc­cess­ful preg­nancy.

But all news is good news, and what’s even bet­ter is if this turns out to be the break­through the head­lines sug­gested. It’s cheap and very sim­ple and doesn’t in­volve drugs or treat­ments.

The first na­tional mis­car­riage cen­tre opened last year, too, and its whole pur­pose is to in­ves­ti­gate why they hap­pen. We wish we could give par­ents the an­swers they’re look­ing for, and hope­fully with re­search like this, things will be­gin to change. It’s com­plex, but we’re work­ing on it.

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