Does Vitamin B1 or B12 Supplements Repel Mosquitoes from Biting You?

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Mosquitoes are bad news, and not just because they’re dreadfully annoying. Believe it or not, mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest insects to humans, thanks to the many diseases they carry.

Whether or not you live in an area with a high risk of malaria, chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, or Zika virus, it’s a good idea to prevent mosquito bites by arming yourself with mosquito repellent.

But what repellent really works? We all know that DEET is an excellent mosquito deterrent, but many people are wary of over-using this chemical-laden spray. Are there alternatives?

There are alternatives to DEET mosquito repellents, but their effectiveness is doubtful.

You may have heard of using vitamins B1 and B12 to repel mosquitoes. These oral supplements are natural, easy, and far less stinky than traditional mosquito spray, but do they work? Read on to find out.

Vitamin B as a mosquito repellent?

Why do Mosquitoes Bite?

Before we launch into a discussion on what keeps mosquitoes away, let’s talk about why mosquitoes bite in the first place.

Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not bite because they need to feed on human blood. Mosquitoes bite in order to get enough protein to produce eggs.

The more blood they get from you, the more blood-sucking baby bugs they can spawn. Yet another reason to avoid mosquito bites!

You’ve probably noticed that mosquitoes seem to prefer some people more than others. I know they love me more than anyone else in my family!

On any given outdoor excursion, you can see a cloud of mosquitoes hoovering above me… and only me. I have always wondered why this is.

Some people believe mosquito attraction has to do with how many bananas or onions you eat, but research has found that it has a lot more to do with the carbon dioxide you produce.

People with high metabolisms and heavier people produce more carbon dioxide, and they are likely to get bit more.

This is not the only reason you might be more prone to mosquito bites than the guy next to you. There seem to be a variety of factors than researchers are only beginning to discover, from the amount you sweat to the temperature of your body.

Whatever the case, mosquitoes are easily attracted and hard to keep away. People have been trying for millennia to combat these tiny monsters!

Fortunately for us, we live in an age when mosquito repellent is easy to obtain. But what substances work the best, and can alternative repellents be just as effective? We’ll talk about this in the next section.

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Old Studies, New Results: Vitamin B Supplements to prevent Mosquito bites

Vitamins B1 and B12 became marginally popular repellents in the 1960s, after a study concluded that taking oral supplements three times a day successfully repelled mosquitoes.

The study alleged that the reason mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others has to do with skin odor (which may be true), and claimed that B vitamins create a skin odor that is offensive to mosquitoes.

However, later studies, which were performed by more stringent, modern standards, found that vitamin B supplements had little to no effect on mosquito bites in subjects.

Currently, the American Mosquito Control Association does not recommend using Vitamin B as a mosquito repellent. They even specifically state that it is not an acceptable or efficacious way to ward off mosquitoes.

Anecdotal Evidence

Although scientific evidence and the experts say Vitamin B is ineffective against mosquitoes, some individuals claim that Vitamin B really does keep the mosquitoes away.

Do a quick search on the internet, and you will find hundreds of people on forums and blogs swearing that these supplements are just the thing to ward off pesky mosquitoes.

Could it be that Vitamin B is effective for some people and not others? Maybe the vitamin interacts with other compounds in the body or in someone’s diet to make them less appealing to mosquitoes. Maybe. But maybe not.

In any case, it is best to trust peer-reviewed scientific research over a nameless internet personality, especially if you are in an area where mosquito-borne illnesses are a problem.

If you want to try taking Vitamin B supplements as an experiment while gardening in your backyard in Detroit, the worst you will likely encounter is a handful of itchy mosquito bites.

But you certainly should not tempt fate if you are traveling on safari through malaria-plagued Tanzania. Better safe than sorry… or sick… or dead.

What works?

Scientific research tells us that the only effective way to combat mosquitoes is through old-fashioned DEET repellent.

One study found that even semi-effective DEET alternatives (such as lemon eucalyptus oil) are unsuitable for high-risk areas, as they do not come close to providing the protection that you can get from DEET repellent.

While regularly spraying chemicals on your body does not sound very appealing, this is currently the only way you can ensure that you will stay free from itchy bites and dangerous diseases.

You may not like it, but the potential effects of DEET absorption are far less perilous than the effects of contracting a deadly mosquito-borne illness.


As much as we would prefer to take a natural, oral vitamin tablet to keep away the mosquitoes, vitamins B1 and B12 have been found to be ineffective.

In order to combat annoying mosquito bites and deadly viruses, you must use DEET spray whenever you are around mosquitoes. It may be messy, smelly, and full of chemicals, but it’s currently the best option the world has to offer.

If you want to avoid mosquitoes, you’ll have to do it the way it’s been done since DEET was invented: cover your body with clothing as much as possible, and generously spray exposed skin with DEET repellent.

Convinced there must be a better way? Maybe you can be the first to discover a truly effective chemical-free mosquito repellent! Hey, anything is possible.

29 thoughts on “Does Vitamin B1 or B12 Supplements Repel Mosquitoes from Biting You?”

  1. Before I went to Korea, the international travel doctor told me to take vitamin B2, not 1 or 2. I was in southern South Korea for a year and have backed national parks without getting a mosquito or tick bite as long as I took large doses of B2 for two weeks on and one week off. Vitamin B2 in large doses is now hard to find so I now have to suffer the insect bites like everyone else.

    • When I was 14, my GP prescribed an Rx for vitamin B as my levels were low. This was not an OTC thing. Prior to the Rx, I was a mosquito magnet. After three refills, I could walk through a swarm of them and not get bitten. That was 40 years ago, and to this day I have not had a single bite.

      • I was also on prescription Vitamin B when I was 14 (a REALLY long time ago). Before that, I was a mosquito magnet. I took it for about a year. After that, I could walk through a swarm and not get a bite.

      • Hello Ms. James,
        Which B vitamin worked for you to repel Mosquitos?
        I get Mosquito bites all the time (they seem to leave my wife alone.)
        Some days I will get 10 to 20 bites, and the itch is absolutely terrible.
        Are you really sure vitamin B worked for you?
        Please let me know. Thank you very much.

    • I am allergic to mossies. They don’t just bite they go into sores. Living in Darwin I landed up in hospital many years ago. I go to Bali and Thailand once a year and I have been having B12 injection every three months. Mossies but but no irritation. I have moved house 9 months ago and my Dr says I don’t need B12. Consequently now I am covered from my shoulders to my feet in mossie bites which are turning into sores. Most of them I can’t scratch but are going into sores

  2. I had been taking a generous multivitamin for years, including very high amounts of vitamins B1 and B12. I hadn’t been bit by a mosquito in 20 years. I recently ran out of my vitamins, and simply put off buying more. Within a month, I was being bitten by mosquitoes within half an hour of being outside. I starting taking my vitamins again, and the biting stopped. So your comment of ‘maybe’ should read ‘for some people, yes’. I mean, why would I be making this up? Why would I bother sending you this comment? People, try some high vitamin B complex before slathering yourselves in DEET. Ignore the naysayers because it may just work for you.

    • Love your comments John. We are going overseas shortly and we need to get some multi-B vitamins to fend off those pesky mozzies. Would rather take a natural systemic nutrient rather than spraying with a topical chemical.

  3. Take large dose of b1 and b2 for 2 weeks then 1 week off. Bugs will not come near you. Also cut a lemon or lime in half stick 3 cloves in it works much better than chemicals.
    I know Dow chemical company does not want people to know this but chemicals are on their way out. Natural no chemicals is in. And home remedies work better anyway.

    • Nobody ever told me this and I’ve never heard it. I just know I started taking B Complex years ago for anxiety, and every time I’d be outside with my family, they’d marvel that I never got bit by mosquitoes. I definitely used to, before I started taking B Complex. I looked it up today because I didn’t take it for a while and got bit, after working outside in the yard. Started taking it again, and no bites. I’ve always wondered if B-vitamins were why I never seem to get bitten, anymore. Now I’m pretty certain they are.

    • Hope someone can help with some info. I have taken vit b1 for years and found it truly amazing but should like to know if it is safe to be given to a two year old to prevent bad reactions to mozzie bites. Don’t want to give all the time just when bitten.

      • VAL, My grandson was 14 months old when he came to live with me. He was allergic to mosquitos, the bites made big knots on him i would cut a vitamin in half crush it up with a spoon and put it in his juice. It Works! As long as you give it to them every day.

  4. Fiona , clove is name of a kind of spice , it is really tiny and has very strong smell , hope this helps with your question

  5. Our experience is that in olden days once bitten we would have welts and itching from the bite. After using vitamin B , very little welt discomfort. We think it reduced, not eliminated, bites but definitely made them more tolerable.

    • The recommended dose of B vitamins is 1.2 mg daily it seems that the required goes for mosquito repellent is 300 mg daily how can this be safe for long term. I live in an area that is mosquito invested 365 days per year and am currently a prisoner in my very hot house which only keeps the biting g to a minimum but does not prevent entirely

  6. Hi do you know if you can get B1 or B2 vitamins in Fuerteventura? I moved here last week and I was ok for 4 days then 1 little critter decided to attack me in one night I had been bitten 2 times on left foot and then 6 times on the other foot not to mention 1 on my leg and arm. I need something quick as I keep all my window and doors shut all the time but it’s way too hot to keep doing this as the heat in the house is giving me headaches. I have been here loads of times but this time they are really in for me 😥😥😥 some one please help. I do have 2 pest plug in the bedroom and plug in air freshener and I cover my body with repellent every night it’s so annoying.

  7. I used to be a faithful vitamin B taker and suffered NO bites while friends and family suffered from them. Became lackadaisical in keeping them/taking them lately and GUESS WHAT??!! Bites galore. I am marching down to the store to get a B complex TODAY!

  8. THIS VITAMIN REGIME REALLY WORKS 100% of the time. It was perscribed to me by a doctor years ago. I was plagued by moskitos most of my life until I tried this doctor’s advice. try taking enough B-1 so that your skin will smell faintly like a vitamin.

  9. I’m a mosquito and no-see-um magnet. Literally. I have been at outdoor gatherings etc with 30+ people and have been the ONLY one bitten. And not just once, over and over and over again. This happens every time I go outside, whether I’m with other people or not. But if I’m in a group, I’m the only one bitten. At camping trips I’ve been the butt of many jokes, bring me a long so that others don’t get bit.

    If I take a vitamin B complex, for a short time it levels the playing field. I don’t get bit more or less than anybody else.

    So if there are ‘studies’ that show its not an effective repellent, I can believe that they are correct, but maybe the studies are asking the wrong question. Is it a repellent? No. Does it neutralize whatever the natural attraction blood suckers have for me over other people? YES. YES! YES!! I’ve tried other ingested substances (garlic, garlic extract, rosemary, etc) and none of them work like a good B complex supplement.

  10. When I was stationed in the Phillippines, mosquitos attacked during sleep. I put my mattress on the floor and set an oscillating fan at the foot of the bed. Mosquitos will not lite on you with than fan blowing in all directions across the bed and it kept me cool without air conditioning.

  11. Everyone has a different chemical makeup in their body. I don’t know why, but that’s why some folks have allergies and some don’t. Some folks are allergic to one thing and others are allergic to something else. I think any blanket statement that B complex vitamins will not deter mosquitoes for anyone is ridiculous. Just like here, far too many people swear to B vitamins and spend their hard earned money on them for it not to work for some, yet may not work for others. If it works for you, just feel blessed. It would be interesting to know who paid for the studies that refute the theory that it does work. The makers of DEET maybe?

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