New research by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute suggests that vitamin B3, or niacin, supplementation has the potential to prevent some miscarriages and birth defects. The Institute advises further research is underway about the types of conditions that can be treated and the correct dose of vitamin B3 required.
Whilst NSW Health acknowledges the significant findings and commends the work of the Institute, the findings at this time should be treated with caution.
The study findings are limited in that the study has only been conducted in mice with a particular mutation which is not common to the majority of couples with miscarriage or fetal abnormality. These results have not been replicated in humans.
In response, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) issued a Media Release on 11 August 2017 stating 'there is currently no data to support dietary supplementation with niacin to prevent recurrent miscarriage or fetal abnormality'. The RANZCOG also recommends that women 'use a multivitamin supplement in the peri-conception period however excessive consumption of vitamin B3 may be harmful to both the woman and the baby'.
NSW Health advises women do not change their diet or pregnancy supplement regime in response to this research, and to speak to their health care provider if they have any concerns.
The NSW Health resource Having a Baby includes information on healthy eating in pregnancy. Foods containing niacin form part of the healthy diet in pregnancy outlined in the resource on pg. 28, such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, and all protein-containing foods. Having a baby is available in 20 languages.