"What we would recommend is that pregnant women, in the end stage of pregnancy take a pregnancy multivitamin and that's has a standard amount of vitamin B3 and that's the best advice we can give at the moment".
Kate Morris from the University of Birmingham told the BBC that "While exciting, this discovery can not be translated into recommendations for pregnant women, who at most may be deficient in vitamin B3", since we don't know what the side effects of high-dose niacin might be.
The breakthrough was made possible by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and philanthropic donations to the Victor Chang Institute, including the Chain Reaction Foundation, Key Foundation and the NSW Office of Health and Medical Research. The tests found that the parents carried a mutation in the gene involved in the production of a developmental molecule known as NAD.
Also in a statement, Victor Chang Institute said that Into the mother diet before the vitamin B3 has introduced that embryos have either lost through miscarriages or the offspring have born with a range of severe congenital disabilities. This will enable doctors to identify those women who are at greatest risk of having a baby with a birth defect, and ensure they are getting sufficient vitamin B3, the study concluded.
'This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world, and I do not use those words lightly'.
But an expert said the findings "cannot be translated into recommendations" for pregnancy.
David Amor, a clinical geneticist and professor at the University of Melbourne, said "there is no reason to believe that dietary niacin deficiency is a major cause of birth defects in the general population".
"You can boost your levels of NAD and completely prevent the miscarriages and birth defects".
Waddell, who was not involved in the study, warned that additional research in humans is needed before advising pregnant women to take B3 above and beyond the current USA recommendation of 18 milligrams a day.
The study genetically sequenced families who had suffered miscarriages and birth defects.
'The ramifications are likely to be huge.
"A broader question is whether dietary niacin deficiency might play a role in birth defects, even in the absence of the genetic deficiency of NAD, and whether dietary supplementation of niacin might be of benefit to pregnant women in the general population", he said.
Researchers are now trying to devise a test - possibly a simple urine or blood test - to identify who needs more B3, according to an ABC report.