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New research on vitamin B3 and miscarriages

Blog post | 16 Aug 2017

Pregnant women should not start taking extra vitamin B3 supplements, experts have warned, despite a recent study that found vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) may reduce the risk of miscarriages and birth defects in mice.

Research is yet to be carried out to prove the same findings in humans, they said.

The study was conducted by scientists at the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney. They were looking for reasons why some women have multiple miscarriages and why some babies are born with heart, kidney and spinal defects.

They found there was a link with the mothers’ genes that causes them to be deficient in a molecule known as 'NAD' and vitamin B3. NAD is vital to normal organ development in the baby.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warns that the initial study still needs further research before pregnant women begin taking extra supplements.

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse.

If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, you will already be consuming the recommended amounts of vitamin B3. The vitamin is found in wholegrain cereals, eggs, cow's milk, green vegetables, meat, nuts and fish, as well as in Vegemite and peanut butter.

While this research represents a promising start, potential parents need to be aware that the study has not found a way to prevent miscarriages and birth defects. It's important that you talk to your doctor before taking any additional supplements or if you have any concerns about your pregnancy (or future pregnancies).

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse.

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