Each year there are 7.9 babies born all over the world and they have birth defects. Researchers are trying to find ways of helping them.
At the Victor Chang Institute, Sydney, Lead researcher Prof. Sally Dunwoodie found the cause and also a solution which might prevent miscarriages and birth defects.
This study and the treatment which was used should not be taken as a recommendation, as it hasn’t yet passed clinical trials on humans, the study having been made on mice.
The first step was to analyze the DNA from four families who had gone through multiple miscarriages or who had babies with birth defects (heart, kidney, vertebrae and cleft palate issues). They found out that two genes had mutations which made the child lack an important molecule: NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). NAD is a molecule that lets cells generate energy so that organs can grow healthy and at a normal size.
The mutations were replicated in a mouse study which was corrected by giving the pregnant mouse vitamin B3 (niacin).
The fact that they found both the cause and the solution to a great health issue is amazing. And what’s more important is that it could be treated with using a vitamin B3 supplement.
But there’s a problem in this study. Maybe pregnant women lack a healthy level of B3, but in the study, the mice were given 10 times more than it would be recommended for a daily dose. There might be risks for taking a high dosage and they are not known yet.
The study is very good but there are too many factors which can derail good results. People absorb vitamins and nutrients in different doses; body mass or health issues such as diabetes can affect a woman’s ability to produce Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.
Prof Sally Dunwoodiesaid that it’s safe to take a multivitamin complex made for pregnant women which also includes a dose of 18 milligrams of niacin.