Marmite Could Prevent Miscarriage And Birth Defects, Says 'Breakthrough' Study

Henrietta Brewer
August 10, 2017

Taking extra doses of a dietary supplement during pregnancy could help protect against common birth defects and even miscarriages, new research has found.

Lead researcher Prof Sally Dunwoodie replicated these mutations in mice but found they could be corrected if the pregnant mother took niacin (vitamin B3). "This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world and I do not say those words lightly".

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

'Now, after 12 years of research, our team has also discovered that this deficiency can be cured and miscarriages and birth defects prevented by taking a common vitamin, ' Professor Sally Dunwoodie said.

The breakthrough was made possible by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and philanthropic donations to the Victor Chang Institute, including the Chain Reaction Foundation, Key Foundation and the NSW Office of Health and Medical Research.

"This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world", Graham said.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that by boosting levels of vitamin B3 in mice, this increased production of NAD. It's extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventative solution at the same time'. "It's actually a double breakthrough". "It bypasses the genetic problem", she said.

Memphis's mother Tashan said being able to prevent heart defects like her son's would be unbelievable.

For now, Prof Dunwoodie recommended pregnant women take a pregnancy-specific multivitamin, which includes the advised 18 milligrams of niacin. Testing this on pregnant mice, they found B3 supplements helped prevent these malformations.

Studies from the United States have shown up to a third of women have low levels of NAD in their blood and aren't getting enough B3 vitamin in their pregnancy supplements. 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".

But this doesn't mean our hearts go out to those who have lost their children to miscarriage or birth defect in the past...

According to Sky News, the next step for scientists is to develop a test identifying women at risk of having a baby with a defect, so they might be given increased amounts of the vitamin.

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