The discovery, believed to be among Australia's greatest every medical breakthroughs, is expected to forever change the way pregnant women are cared for across the world.
In a major pregnancy breakthrough, New South Wales scientists have found Vitamin B3 - which is also known as Niacin - helps to correct a nutrient deficiency in babies. "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", Dunwoodie said in the institute's announcement.
One in four pregnant women now suffer from a miscarriage, and an estimated 7.9 million babies worldwide are born with a serious birth defect every year.
'The ramifications are likely to be huge, ' said Professor Sally Dunwoodie, researcher at Sydney's Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
Dunwoodie along with other scientists recently found a link between women who have had multiple miscarriages and babies born with birth defects: a deficit in NAD, a molecule that encourages normal organ development.
A single serving of Marmite contains 36% of your daily recommended allowance of B3, so spreading it on your toast is an easy way to boost your intake of the vitamin.
The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It's extremely rare to discover the problem and provide a preventive solution at the same time.
"What is most interesting is that these birth defects are potentially treatable if the mother is given niacin (NAD) supplementation during pregnancy", he says. "It's actually a double breakthrough".
Pregnant women lacking in vitamin D are more likely to have children with poor motor skills, research revealed last month.
The researchers then gave vitamin B3 to mice embryos with similar NAD deficiencies as those seen in some humans.
"Knowing that this breakthrough could mean that no babies are born with heart defects in the future, it just makes our hearts sing", she said.
"The Australian population is not considered to be deficient in niacin", she says.
This vitamin is found in most meats and green vegetables.
'After the dietary change, both the miscarriages and birth defects were completely prevented, with all the offspring born perfectly healthy'.
The next step will be to develop a diagnostic test to measure NAD levels.