I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day and one of the topics that she brought up was the myth that Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is said to prevent mosquito bites when consumed. She swore by this method as it seemed to have worked for someone she knows. Prior to this conversation, I was never aware of such a simple, yet effective-sounding insect repelling method. So being the skeptic that I was, I took the idea with a grain of salt.
A brief look on the Internet has afforded me no consensus on this topic. In some cases, people who are previously prone to mosquito bites are now free from the daily routine of mosquito hunting before bed; yet in other cases, the introduction of additional thiamin to their diet has done nilch to the invasion of the swarm at night. So to believe or not to believe?
There is one slight issue that I see with this assertion. It’s the validity of it. So far, any scientific study done on this topic has produced no significant results. That is not to say that we can simply conclude from this that Vitamin B1 has no effect on repelling mosquitoes from your vicinity. Which target a mosquito chooses is dependent on a complicated formula of chemical reactions that occur both inside and outside one’s body. The difficulties involved in isolating these factors have probably hindered any serious effort to discover empirically verifiable evidence needed to identify causal relationships, if any. Therefore, without any knowledge of these relationships, people can only resort to the trial and error approach.
In my opinion, thiamin most likely does have some sort of effect on deterring those pesky insects; however, the extent of this effect is heavily influenced by an aggregation of factors in the unique environment that a given victim happens to be in at the time, the various chemical interactions within the victim and the cavalcade of unique events that occur pre and during a mosquito onslaught.
So should you be taking Vitamin B1 tablets when you are being bitten? My answer is why not? Thiamin has some very useful and established health benefits. It helps maintain your cardiovascular activities as well as alleviate stress by converting carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn strengthens the nervous system. You should be eating foods rich in thiamin, such as beans, regardless of whether your ultimate goal is to prevent mosquito bites. Extra supplement in the form of B1 tablets can only be more beneficial to you.