Sydney scientists make breakthrough in preventing miscarriages, birth defects

A world-first breakthrough in Sydney is expected to save countless lives by stopping miscarriages and birth defects.

Hailed as one of Australia's most important scientific discoveries, the extraordinary cure involves one of the key elements found in meat, leafy greens, even Vegemite.

Vitamin B3 has been found to prevent miscarriages and birth defects.

It works by boosting the molecule responsible for developing the baby's organs.

Vitamin B3 boosts the molecule responsible for healthy development of a baby's organs. Source: 7 News

"To be actually able to make discoveries that have the potential to impact many, many lives - I get goosebumps at the thought," Professor Sally Dunwoodie of the Victor Chang Institute says.

"The science isn't simple, and it took 12 years. But the beauty is the simplicity of the prevention."

Expectant mum Cath Alcorn plans to increase her B3 intake. Source: 7 News

Expectant mum Cath Alcorn is planning to increase her B3 intake through eating more leafy greens and legumes.

A miscarriage two years ago has made her extra cautious.

"So much plays on your mind, especially as a first time mum - and you just want to make sure you're as healthy you can be," she says.

Leafy greens and legumes are high in B3. Source: 7 News

It would also mean fewer operations for very young patients, like Charlotte Shaif who was born with congenital heart disease.

Charlotte Shaif was born with congenital heart disease. Source: 7 News

There is still work to be done to determine which women are at risk of miscarriage and how much niacin they need.

For now, anyone contemplating pregnancy should take the recommended dose of a multi-vitamin that includes B3.