The Royal Australian and New Zealand  College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have issued a media release advising caution regarding the new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting Vitamin B3 can prevent miscarriage and foetal abnormality. The publication of the findings has been associated with significant media hype about a "medical breakthrough" .Miscarriage is extremely common and complicated and there are many factors known and currently unknown regarding causes and it is unhelpful and inaccurate to suggest simply eating vegemite to supplement vitamin B3 levels will reduce the risk of this occurring.

The Victor Chang Institute published results from a small mouse study demonstrating niacin ( vitamin B3) could prevent abnormal foetal development in mice. It involved couples who were suffering from congenital malformations in their infants. Three of the couples were  closely related, an unusual circumstance that is not represented in the majority of couples  with miscarriage or foetal abnormality. The researchers then performed mouse studies demonstrating niacin supplementation could prevent abnormal foetal development  in mice with the same mutations.The same outcomes have yet to be demonstrated in humans and there is no data to support dietary supplementation with niacin will prevent recurrent miscarriage or foetal abnormality.

At present, there is no reason to associate dietary niacin deficiency is a major cause of birth defects in humans. Until randomised controlled studies are done, a medical breakthrough can not be claimed and  women are advised to use a multivitamin supplement in the peri-conception period, but be careful of taking excessive doses of vitamin B3 as it may be harmful to the baby or herself.

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