Identification of vitamin which may prevent miscarriages and genetic anomalies.
The most important discovery for pregnant women, after folic acid.
A simple vitamin supplement could prevent miscarriages and genetic abnormalities, according to a 12-year study by Dunwoodie scientists in Australia.
Researchers, who started their research in 2005, have identified a deficiency in a developmental molecule called NAD, which is responsible for the proper formation of the baby's organs within the uterus. Lack of it could be treated by taking B3 vitamin by pregnant women.
Overall, the team examined the genetic data from 14 families whose children had congenital genetic defects and identified the NAD mutations that were found in four of them.
Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, is commonly found in meat and green vegetables. While many pregnant women receive dietary supplements, research has shown that up to one third of US women have low levels of vitamin B3 during their pregnancy.
"At present, the recommendation is to take a standardized multivitamin supplement. But not all human organisms are the same, and that will not prevent all women from having babies with genetic abnormalities," said Dunwoodie at Huffington Post. And she continues: "We need to identify these women and determine a safe level of niacin that they have to take to prevent miscarriages and genetic anomalies".
For that reason, researchers say the next step would be to develop a diagnostic test similar to a pregnancy test by taking a urine or blood sample that could easily show which women have low levels of NAD.
This is a very promising start in development research that will result in the lives of thousands of families.
The findings are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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