Australian researchers have discovered a dietary supplement which can prevent miscarriages, and many different types of birth defects for pregnant women.
The discovery, announced on Thursday at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said that the common supplement Niacin, known as Vitamin B3, can cure molecular deficiencies that cause birth defects and miscarriages in women, reports Xinhua news agency.
Until now, the cause of 80 per cent of birth defects had remained unknown to scientists, but with this discovery, pregnant women around the world will now be able to prevent many common abnormalities such as cleft palate, kidney, heart, and spinal issues.
The lead scientist who made this remarkable discovery, professor Sally Dunwoodie, told Xinhua that she never believed that she would be able to make such an important difference, and that this would now lead to new opportunities to improve the lives of women around the world.
The discovery showed that a major cause was a deficiency of a vital molecule known as NAD, which is important for normal development of organs.
To make NAD, vitamin B3 is necessary, and the vitamin is found in most meats and green vegetables, even in one of Australia's most famous exports, Vegemite.
Studies have shown however that by the third trimester of pregnancy, 60 per cent of women are deficient in their vitamin B3 levels, and as such need to complement their diet with additional supplements.
The Executive Director of the Victor Chang Institute Robert Graham said that women need to be taking vitamin B3 well before they decide to get pregnant.
"This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world," Graham said.
"We believe that this breakthrough will be one of our country's greatest medical discoveries. It's extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventative solution at the same time," he added.