The molecular deficiency hinders NAD - a molecule which is essential for energy production, DNA fix and cell communication.
Professor Sally Dunwoodie, from Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, found that vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin, has the ability to cure molecular deficiencies that prohibit the development of embryos and babies' organs and also prevent miscarriages.
As NAD is essential for the development and fix of genes, medical journals are suggesting that taking vitamin B3 leading up to and during your pregnancy will be an efficient preventative measure of counteracting any deficiency. 'This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world, and I do not use these words lightly'.
It's the first time that NAD (aka nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) has been linked to congenital abnormalities, identifying a previously unknown cause of birth defects - along with the supplement that might treat the problem.
Studies have also shown that by the third trimester of pregnancy, 60% of women are deficit in vitamin B3 and they need to complement their diet with additional supplements of the nutrient.
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.More news: Juvenile Babysitters Arrested After Putting Baby in Refrigerator
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Professor Robert Graham, executive director of the institute, said 'We believe that this breakthrough will be one of Australia's greatest medical discoveries. Environmental and genetic factors can disrupt its production, which causes a NAD deficiency.
More research will be needed to work out the best way to consume B3 (a supplement may be better than Marmite on toast, for example), and the researchers say they'll need to look at current pregnancy supplements on the market, which may not have enough B3.
Vitamin B3 is required to make NAD and is typically found in meats and green vegetables as well as vegemite.
But this doesn't mean our hearts go out to those who have lost their children to miscarriage or birth defect in the past...
Scientists are now working on a test to measure levels of NAD, to work out which women have a higher likelihood of miscarriage, and could therefore benefit from a B3 supplement.