Medical

Research suggests Marmite could reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects

Research suggests Marmite could reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects

Birth defects and miscarriages could be significantly reduced around the world if vitamin B3 supplements are during pregnancy, a major study has found.

The study genetically sequenced families who had suffered miscarriages and birth defects.

Professor Dunwoodie and her team. Genetic sequencing of four families with offspring affected by heart and bone defects showed that the families had gene mutations that affected the production of a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which is essential for energy storage and DNA synthesis in cells.

The body naturally forms NAD when foods like eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds are incorporated in a person's diet but scientists claim that taking B3 supplements can produce the molecule as well. There are about 310,000 babies born in Australia each year. Scientists at the Victor Chang Institute found that simply boosting levels during pregnancy can prevent miscarriages and birth defects. As Dr. Katie Morris, an expert in maternal fetal medicine at the University of Birmingham, told the BBC, "While exciting, this discovery can not be translated into recommendations for pregnant women, who at most may be deficient in vitamin B3".

"Professor Dunwoodie's research suggests that it is probably best for women to start taking vitamin B3 very early on, even before they become pregnant. This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world".

With 7.9 million babies born each year with a birth defect worldwide, the team hopes the benefits are wide-reaching.




The Institute said that the study, led by Professor Sally Dunwoodie, was among Australia's greatest-ever medical breakthroughs and one of the greatest discoveries in pregnancy research and the ramifications are likely to be huge.

"The goal is to have a quick and easy test that could be done at the same time as a pregnancy test, either in urine or blood", she said.

"After the dietary change, both the miscarriages and birth defects were completely prevented, with all the offspring born perfectly healthy".

The next step, according to the report, will be to develop a diagnostic test to measure NAD levels.

The results from the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have the scientific world buzzing.

When they removed vitamin B3 from their diet, numerous mice died before birth, and the ones that survived had serious birth defects, Science Mag reports.


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