Miscarriages are always a traumatic event in the life of new parents, and the causes for pregnancy loss are not always straightforward. Often, they are linked to genetic factors or the impact of lifestyle.
Prof. Sally Dunwoodie, from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, has pioneered a study with a team of researchers and they identified a key factor behind some miscarriages and congenital malformations of the heart, spine, kidneys, and cleft palate.
The researchers traced the cause of a number of abnormal embryonic developments to a deficiency in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a molecule that plays a key role in metabolic regulation. NAD is involved in energy production and boosting cell survival, as well as supporting DNA repair.
However, NAD production can be inhibited by some genetic factors, chronic diseases (such as diabetes), or an unhealthful diet, leading to NAD deficiency.
A key element in NAD is synthesis is niacin, a vitamin B-3 complex available as a dietary supplement.Niacin can also be found in some meats, such as tuna and turkey, and in a number of plant ingredients, including ginger and tarragon.
A sustained intake of B-3 complex supplements, Dunwoodie and her colleagues suggests, can effectively prevent miscarriages and birth defects such as heart and small kidney defects.
“Now, after 12 years of research, our team has discovered that this [NAD] deficiency can be cured and miscarriages and birth defects prevented by taking a common vitamin,” says Dunwoodie.
A sustained intake of B-3 complex supplements, Dunwoodie and her colleagues suggest, can effectively prevent miscarriages and birth defects such as spina bifida and other vertebral segmentation malformations, as well as some heart and small kidney defects.
There is one problem, however. According to an existing study, a significant number of expectant mothers tend to have a vitamin B-3 deficiency during the first trimester of pregnancy, despite taking supplements. This is particularly important, because organ development in the womb is kick-started at that time.
This, the researchers explain, may mean that pregnant women require an even higher vitamin B-3 intake than the quantities obtainable through current vitamin supplements.
Dunwoodie and her team said they were pleased to note that, after the vitamin B-3 complex was appropriately introduced into the expecting mother’s diet, miscarriages no longer occurred. Moreover, all the babies were born healthy, with no congenital malformations.
For the time being, they urge expectant mothers to only take B-3 supplements as advised by their doctors, especially since it is still unclear what exact doses of vitamin B-3 would actually help to prevent miscarriages and malformations in each case.
This news was gotten from The Guardian