Miscarriages and Birth Defect Prevention with Niacin? Careful 4/5 (1)

What you see is not always a linear relationship.

I get it.

Research is tough.

There has to be isolated variables and a singular target in order to see and make some connection between intervention and outcome.

However, the human body, and life in general, is not a set of isolated variables and singular targets.

Making the connection between research findings and an actual living being must be done with caution.

When it comes to pregnancy, I expect higher degrees of caution.

A research team in Australia has discovered something of significance.


“We have discovered a whole new cause of birth defects and a way to treat it as well,” she said.

“Arguably, it’s the most important discovery for pregnant women since folate.

“The promise is that this could significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and babies born with defects.”

What did she and her team find?

Low NAD levels in pregnant women are associated with miscarriage and birth defects.

What is NAD?

That’s a loaded question.

Simply, our body makes it using various genes in the Kynurenine pathway using tryptophan-containing foods.

It is also made from vitamin B3, known as niacin.

The researchers got all this; however, they did not mention other big factors in how NAD is made. Granted, they didn’t because it wasn’t relevant to their findings; however, I would have liked to see additional thoughts in their Discussion part of their paper.

We will get to what I mean by  ‘additional thoughts’ in a second.

How to ‘fix’ low NAD levels?

The researchers, and many others, propose:

  • Eating more tryptophan-containing foods
  • Eating more niacin-containing foods
  • Taking niacin supplementation

How prevalent is NAD deficiency?

Nearly a third of women in the USA have low levels of NAD in their blood. Apparently, they aren’t getting sufficient niacin in their prenatal vitamin. Only 18 mg of niacin are needed daily. That’s nothing.

I include 25 mg of niacin in the prenatal vitamins I formulated.

What causes NAD deficiency?

As mentioned above, not consuming enough:

  • niacin via supplements
  • niacin via foods
  • tryptophan-containing foods as tryptophan can make NAD via various genes.

These are direct causes of NAD deficiency.

What about indirect causes of NAD deficiency?

The researchers did point out that nutrient absorption, obesity and diabetes increase NAD deficiency.

Yes – big time.

What do diabetes, obesity and inflammation have in common? 

NADH excess.


NADH is what your glucose turns into in order to convert it into fuel.

To give a very simplistic sequence of events:

Carbohydrates -> Glucose -> NADH (fuel) -> ATP (energy)

In short:

Fuel (food) + Spark (mitochondria) = Energy (ATP)

The problem with inflammation, diabetes and obesity is often there is a massive amount of fuel already present and the spark is weak thereby causing a deficiency in energy.

This causes a vicious cycle of eating for energy, then crashing then doing it again.

The cycle must be broken.

When your mitochondria burn NADH, it makes NAD.

Let me say that again.

When your mitochondria burn NADH, it makes NAD.

What did the researchers say?

NAD Deficiency increases risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

Bottom line:

Mitochondrial dysfunction increases NAD deficiency via accumulation of NADH.

Factors increasing risk of high NADH and low NAD:

  • obesity
  • diabetes type II
  • mitochondrial dysfunction
  • overeating
  • high carbohydrate meals
  • binging
  • poor sleep
  • alcohol
  • low exercise
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • high oxidative stress (free radicals)
  • low glutathione
  • snacking all day

Quick and easy signs of high NADH over NAD:

  • Eat and soon after you are tired. That is showing you are not burning your fuel well and turning it into energy.
  • Exercise a bit and you’re immediately out of breath. A little tired is ok but exhausted – no.

Quick test to see if you can burn NADH to NAD efficiently:

  • Take 1 lozenge of NADH + CoQ10 immediately upon waking up in the morning

Two things can happen:

  1. Within 5 minutes, you will literally pop up and out of bed with energy and vigor.
  2. You will be more fatigued and want to sleep more

Most commonly, people experience #1.

If you do as well, you may continue enjoying NADH + CoQ10 in the morning or during intense workouts.

If you experience #2, stop taking NADH + CoQ10.

Your fire is smoking vs burning clean. Your engine is flooded.

You have some work to do.

I’ll show you what to do in a second.

Note: Never take NADH + CoQ10 within an hour of eating – before or after. Remember food provides NADH. This supplement bypasses the need for food to make NADH and gives an immediate and lasting energy.

Factors which increase NAD over NADH:

The above list is what one should maintain during pregnancy.

Most of these nutrients are found in our Optimal Prenatal capsules and Optimal Prenatal Protein Powder

This is how best to support a healthy NAD level.

Not just taking niacin.

One more big thing about niacin….

Does niacin use up methyl groups?

Yes. It does.

High dose niacin.

Normal amounts of niacin also uses methyl groups but not to a harmful extent.

We all must consume niacin – as this research team so wonderfully discovered yet another reason to do so.

However, anything in high amounts and long term, may increase risks for something else.

In this case, high dose and long term niacin supplementation may cause a methylation deficiency.

This is known and proven.


Niacin is metabolized and eliminated from the body via a gene called NNMT. This gene uses SAMe, the body’s primary methyl donor, in order to process niacin.

Key Take Home Points:

NAD deficiency is common and it is not just a nutritional deficiency during pregnancy.

It is a lifestyle.

It impacts every aspect of your health.

One must understand what actions they need to take in order to have – and maintain healthy NAD levels.

Understanding the fundamentals of diet, lifestyle, environment and mindset shape how our genes work and thus directly impact our biochemistry – and how you feel.

Optimize your NAD levels today by cleaning up your Dirty Genes

Share your comments below.

My passion is optimizing the lives of unborn children – so I do hope this information resonates with you and you are able to take action.














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Comments 24

    1. Post

      Yes – in high doses – gram doses – absolutely. I’d be cautious with 500 mg of niacin during pregnancy – I think that’s pushing it and possibly already excessive – especially in women who are weak in methylation.

      Pregnancy is a HIGH demand on methylation – very high – and adding in higher amounts of niacin adds to that demand.

  1. Excellent! I wish more medical professionals would think and look “outside the box.” Thank you for your research! Particularly in MTHFR genetics.

  2. Thanks for the post, Ben.

    Another way to reduce the chances of miscarriages is to avoid endocrine disruptors, especially flax! It contains more estrogen than any plant food, hundreds of times more than soy (which is used as hormone replacement for menopause symptoms) and yet flax is commonly promoted as a health food.

    I’ve posted about the dangers of flax several times on my blog. Here is one of them: http://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/wheat-belly-cookbook-review-is-flax-the-new-wheat/

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    1. Post

      I wouldn’t do this no.

      There is no ‘definition’ of what ‘intermittent fasting’ really is.

      What I would maintain is:
      – no more than three meals a day
      – limit snacking
      – go for walks, do yoga, move how you are comfortable
      – eat when you are hungry – not when you are craving

      Last thing we want is a caloric deficient and nutrient deficient pregnancy.

      Also if fasting is done wrong, it increases catecholamines – and that reduces blood flow to baby – and to you.

  3. I’ve never heard this info before. Thank you so much.

    I have 1 copy MTHFR 128….
    I would guess niacin is not for me to play with, since I already have folate issues
    But I sure am exhausted?

    1. Post

      It is something to use – but as I mentioned – all things together must be put into play – not just popping a supplement (that’s not directed at you 😉 )

      My caution with the researchers findings is that they recommend niacin for pregnancy.

      That’s ok – but we have to understand WHY NAD is low in the first place – and it’s not just niacin deficiency.

      Optimal Prenatal has 25 mg of niacin in it – plus many of the other support factors which I mentioned in the list. Many women worldwide are taking Optimal Prenatal and experiencing great pregnancy outcomes even after recurrent miscarriages or infertility. A great thing!

  4. Hey Dr Ben, Speaking as an Aussie, there was alot of fanfare made of this a few week’s ago, and I immediately thought, I wonder what Dr Ben would make of this? and here it is – great explanation. You make complex things easy to understand, and I can trust that you have considered all the factors and effects. Thanks Dr Ben. ps The new publicity shots look great!

    1. Post

      Hi Jenny –

      Thanks 😉

      Yes – I can imagine.

      When I first saw the recommendation of niacin during pregnancy – I was thinking – oh boy. Niacin depletes methylation. So here we go undoing all the folate benefit by depleting it with niacin – high dose niacin.

      Of course – what do people do? If some niacin is of benefit – a lot more must be even more beneficial.

      I can see the ‘standards’ of niacin of 18 mg for pregnant women – yet for recurrent miscarriage it is 4 grams. That would be a very bad thing.

      I need to expand on that a bit more in the article – I wasn’t clear enough – will do that.

  5. Interesting article but I am a little unclear as I read far too much about MTHFR! I am positive for homozygous C677T. I have had seven miscarriages within 6 years, losses from 10 weeks to 16 weeks with little/no explanation. All clear in tubes and uterus. One healthy child age 3. I take methyl folate and methyl Bs. Often low iron, TSH high/low. I mainly eat Autoimmune Paleo/Protocol. So should I take niacin supplements or not? Or is this a loaded question? Thanks

    1. Post

      Hi Emma –

      Niacin is a very valuable nutrient and is hard to test for in terms of deficiency.

      We need to use all forms of B vitamins or we run the risk of a deficiency in one of them – and this can be sustained by diet as well as supplements.

      It’s not possible to say if you need niacin supplementation or not.

      Here is a great article on niacin and possible symptoms of niacin deficiency – http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/niacin

      A solid prenatal should offer sufficient niacin for most individuals – especially if their NAD/NADH ratio is balanced in favor of NAD. High NADH is an issue and make sure you read how to balance it in this article.

  6. I am not pregnant, but I was looking for information on negative affects of using Niacin. My doctor prescribed a supplement blend “glutamate scavenger” to see if it would help with sleep. It did… but by the third day I was feeling apathetic, and the fourth day was so tired and depressed (not sad, but didn’t want to get out of bed) I couldn’t function. It only has 50 mg per tab. I found very little information on this. Only that it could up-regulate dopamine use and increase serotonin. I knew it helped absorb over methylation but your article above finally clarified for me that it uses more SAMe. So is SAMe the same as a methylgroup? and could I likely combat this affect with adding SAMe? I have multiple homozygous snips in MAT gene and it functions at about 38%,

    1. Post

      SAMe is the body’s primary methyl donor in the body. High dose niacin does use some of it up yes – but typically in gram doses of niacin – not low dose mg amounts.

      I am not sure how you know that your MAT functions at 38%. To me that sounds like it is made up vs actual knowledge. Most genetic reporting companies are flat out guessing unless they are citing research. Also – it is more of how your genes are actually working vs just a SNP which may or may not be causing an issue.

      I’m pretty sure you ran Methyl Genetics report – and I am not sure how they come up with their percent function. With http://www.strategene.org – we base our functional genetic variations on research and have citations.

      By taking a supplement which induces a clearance of glutamate, it can reduce your desire and excitement to start the day. This is why I talk about the Pulse Method a ton. Supplements should not be taken every day unless really necessary.

      I highly recommend you consider gaining a deeper understanding of how genes work and the impact of lifestyle, diet, environment via the Dirty Genes Course Bundle. You may access it here – https://www.drbenlynch.com/product/dirty-genes-bundle-b/

      Read the reviews there as well –

      I’m confident it will help steer you in the right direction.

      1. Thank you, I appreciate your help. I have already purchased the bundle and watched the videos. I really liked them. It certainly makes sense to address lifestyle and environmental factors first. I am planning on running my data in Stratagene. Things certainly seem to make more sense in your program. Brain fog is improving, I just wish I could remember everything I have read!

  7. Can I take both the Optimal Prenatal and the NADH + Coq10 AND Active B12 with L-5-MTHF together? I think I may overdo it. I’m compound heterozygous MTHFR and just received your vitamins. I want to start tomorrow as I feel I’m always tired and we are trying to get pregnant. I have had 7 miscarriages, none passing 6 weeks. My clock is ticking….

    1. Post

      Hi there –

      I think that is a lot.

      I wouldn’t do that.

      I’d do the prenatal, fish oil, electrolytes, liposomal vitamin C and probiota histaminX.

      I highly highly recommend the Optimal Prenatal Protein Power – it is the most comprehensive.

  8. Niacin and Nicotanamide. . Is Niacin is a vasodilator and nicotanamide Vasoconstrictor.
    So if you have low blood pressure and maybe pots I assume that the latter would be ok. Also if magnesium is low how do you supplement with magnesium without effecting Blood Pressure. Love you work, waiting , waiting for your book.

    1. Post

      Niacin – all forms – will vasodilate your blood vessels and thus increase heart rate and potentially lower it even more in those with POTS.

      You need to support adrenals with POTS – with things like Adrenal Cortex and Optimal Electrolyte and reduce stress with things like Optimal Adrenal and get true solid sleep with things like Optimal Sleep.

      Have you watched the Dirty Genes Course fully yet? Lot of things there that will help you with POTS 😉

      January is nearly here and with it comes the book! 🙂

  9. Interesting article, Dr. Ben. I am 67, so do not have to worry about pregnancy. However, you state “never take NADH + CoQ10 within an hour of eating-before or after.
    I take my CoQ10 every morning at breakfast, which has a protein included. Is this a no-no? When should I take CoQ10? Or am I completely misinterpreting what you meant? Thank you.

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  10. Dr Lynch

    Thank you for the great article, and fantastic formulations from your organization.

    i have a basic question, as you mentioned NADH + Coq10 may cause fatigue in certain % of people, would it be better off to try NAD + Coq10.

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