Around 7.9 million babies are born each year with serious birth defects and almost 30% of them are for unknown reasons. 1 in 4 pregnant women suffers a miscarriage. These numbers are almost unbelievable but it’s the truth our world is facing. It would arguably be the greatest discovery of mankind if a way was found to curb these numbers.
A new study has found that the chances of having a miscarriage or a birth defect can be significantly reduced if pregnant women take vitamin B3 during their pregnancy.
The scientists at Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia did 12 years of long study to discover that the vitamin could compensate for the body’s ability to make a molecule called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). This molecule was termed as essential for healthy baby development in the womb.
The team working on it looked into children born with heart problems and their families. They came across a few cases in which both the parents contained a mutation gene related to the production of NAD and this, in turn, resulted in 2 defective copies of the gene in the baby.
They decide to test this theory out in mice and they knocked out the genes to see if the offspring have similar birth defects. In the beginning, the baby mice were all healthy. They then realized that the food that was given to the pregnant mouse was rich in Vitamin B3. They proceeded to feed it a diet without the vitamin B3 and the results were astounding.
A lot of babies died in the uterus and the few that were born had similar birth defects as the babies they’d seen with the gene mutation.
Human studies haven’t yet been done on this subject so it’s hard to say if it works for sure. This is the reason it might take a while for doctors to actually prescribe vitamin B3 supplements for their patients. But the scientists are positive that this is a revolutionary breakthrough in science. If the clinical trial goes well, this has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world.
“It’s extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventive solution at the same time. It’s actually a double breakthrough...This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world” - Director of the Research Institute, Robert Graham, noted.