Answer: Not at all
Despite decades of rumors backing up the claim that Vitamin B repels mosquitoes, in reality, it doesn’t.
Summary of Our Scientific Research
The myth that Vitamin B repels mosquitoes has been around since the 1960’s, but evidence for the claim is very limited. However, there are published studies that show Vitamin B supplements having no result.
The Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association published a study showing that Vitamin B had no effect on mosquito attraction, though attraction varied between each test subject (1).
Clearly, Vitamin B has no discernible effect with mosquitoes, though some may claim the opposite.
While modern websites spread the 1960’s claim that Vitamin B works as a mosquito repellent by creating a repulsive body odor, the claim has been disproven by published studies and user testimony (2). No matter if you’re using a patch or taking 3 supplements a day, you’ll still be covered in nothing but red marks by the night’s end.
Mosquitoes target people based on blood type, body temperature, clothes colors, and various other factors (3) While it sounds rational that Vitamin B may deter mosquitoes, it doesn’t quite work like that.
The only B that mosquitoes will be attracted to is B-type blood and this B-grade joke!
Forms of Vitamin B
When it comes to repelling insects, there are two types of Vitamin B that some claim do the job: B1 and B12.
B1 comes from whole grains and some meat, while B12 is found in meat and poultry. However, neither are good sources for repellents. You can find these two vitamins in these 3 forms:
- Patches – For the past few years, Vitamin B patches have become popular, due to claims of the patches aiding weight loss and increasing focus(4). You can get these from any online retailer, but be careful! Vitamin B patches are not promised to work. The FTC has trouble regulating every single product that gets released, so choose your Vitamin B patches carefully(5). Best case scenario, the patches do what they promise. Worst case, you can suffer from headaches or worse from a defective product.
- Pills – If you grew up like me, hearing your parents telling you to “take your vitamins” was a common instruction. Vitamin B pills are the original way to increase your Vitamin B intake without counting on meat and dairy. Taking 3 pills a day won’t hurt, but it won’t repel mosquitoes. However, it will repel certain diseases, so I still recommend taking them.
- Food – Finally, there’s Vitamin B from eating food, such as poultry and meat. Unfortunately, having more eggs & bacon in the morning won’t keep those mosquitoes away. If anything, those mosquitoes will just like the smell of bacon.
If repelling mosquitoes was as easy as taking a pill or two a day, mosquitoes would be extinct due to starvation. Everyone would keep to a strict Vitamin B schedule, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, disappointing those small bloodsuckers takes more than a pill regimen. Maybe one day…
1 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – “Although there was substantial and consistent individual variation in attractiveness, we found no effect of vitamin B supplementation.”
2 – nytimes.com – “Studies dating to the 1960s suggest that taking small doses of the supplement three times a day during biting season helps to produce a skin odor that mosquitoes find repulsive.”
3 – smithsonianmag.com – “Blood type, metabolism, exercise, shirt color and even drinking beer can make individuals especially delicious to mosquitoes.”
4 – nationalpost.com – “In recent years, though, nonmedicinal vitamin patches have flooded the market, with companies selling pricey cocktails of “supplements” that promise to help ease the effects of conditions including acne, insomnia, poor focus, premenstrual syndrome, hangovers, weight gain and stress.”
5 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – “The Food and Drug Administration regulates dietary supplement quality, safety, and labeling, and the Federal Trade Commission monitors advertisements and marketing; still, vast enforcement challenges remain, and optimal governmental oversight has not been achieved. If the composition and quality of ingredients cannot be reliably ensured, the validity of research on dietary supplements is questionable. Moreover, the health of the US public is put at risk.”