Birth defects and miscarriages have caused countless women excruciating pain through the years. In fact, it is estimated that 8 million children are born every year with severe genetic abnormalities. And while the cause for all of these anomalies is still not known, researchers have now found another broken link in this chain.
Recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the research was conducted at the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney to determine the abnormal genes responsible for heart, kidney, and spine defects in babies, and try to find a way to eradicate the problem.
The Secret Behind Birth Defects and Miscarriages
To figure out the broken link, the research team first used CRISPR-Cas9 to identify faulty genetic codes in study subjects with family history of relevant birth defects, and then used the data to edit mouse embryos to get suitable study models.
When they did this with the gene defect that causes a severe deficiency of NAD in the body, they realized that test mice that were given regular supplements of Vitamin B3 did not exhibit miscarriages or birth defects in their offspring.
A discovery that has created shockwaves in the field of medicine.
NAD and Its Role In The Body
NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is the biologically active coenzyme form of Vitamin B3 required for all major chemical reactions that maintain the metabolic pathways of our body.
That's why a severe deficiency of this molecule causes the disease Pellagra, which is characterized by the four D's:-
Unfortunately, when the mother is suffering from this condition, the unborn fetus in her belly also suffers from its lack, which leads to major birth defects, and sometimes miscarriages.
Cause for Controversy
While this new research and its findings have created much optimism in the medical fraternity, there are some who feel the findings cannot be considered viable for two reasons.
First, mice models can mimic human diseases but they cannot give you the entire picture since human physiology is much more complex.
And second, they feel most birth defects are caused by genetic defects that are not linked to dietary deficiencies and cannot be corrected without genetically editing human embryos.
Should You Increase Your Vitamin B3 Intake?
While the concerns raised are solid, it is always better to stack up your odds with whatever is in your control.
So if you are pregnant, or wish to have a child but have suffered through miscarriages, then based on these new findings it is recommended that you get your vitamin B3 levels tested.
And if the reports show deficiency, then the following foods can help you improve your baseline to the recommended daily dose of 18mg, if you do not wish to take supplements:-
- Chicken breast
In fact, why take a risk at all? The following infographic can help you eat healthier and stay stocked up on all the necessary vitamins.