Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In a question on Travel.SE, a user claimed that Vitamin B12, taken regularly, can be an effective mosquito repellent. Is there any evidence behind this claim?

share|improve this question
2  
Good question. I did some research and could only find information debunking B1, but there are plenty of people on the web saying that B12 is effective. –  xiaohouzi79 Sep 28 '11 at 23:05
1  
The answer to skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2551/… links to a B1 study. –  Suma Sep 29 '11 at 0:16
    
Doesn't work for me. I take large quantities and still have welts after one minute outside. –  Jand Oct 16 '11 at 5:24
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I was unable to find many studies dealing with vitamin B12 specifically as most studies deal with B vitamins in general. The studies I found indicate that B vitamins are not effective mosquito repellents.

A 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine comparing the efficiency of different mosquito repellents reported that:

No ingested compound, including garlic and thiamine (vitamin B1), has been found to be capable of repelling biting arthropods. - Source

A 2005 study in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found that:

The results of a small number of published studies suggested that vitamin B complex supplements are not effective as repellents, but these studies were limited by the use of very few human subjects and only 1 species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti. We extended this work with the use of larger samples of human subjects and with Anopheles stephensi as the test organism. We tested whether ingestion of vitamin B supplements under various regimens affected the attractiveness of volatile skin components transferred to glass vials. Although there was substantial and consistent individual variation in attractiveness, we found no effect of vitamin B supplementation. - Source

(emphasis mine)

A 1995 Brazilian study (full text in Portuguese) found that:

One untested but widely held opinion in Brazil is that oral use of vitamin B complex is useful as a mosquito repellent. We exposed Balb-C mice to a large number of Culex quinquefasciatus females, after giving vitamin B complex to mice (drops by mouth). There was no difference between mice attractiveness to mosquitoes in the vitamin B group compared to normal, but very few of the females bite mice in both groups, so the experiment was inconclusive. We suggest further experiments in this subject, using other models were the animals are more attractive to mosquitoes. - Source

Little to no study has been done on vitamin B12 specifically. Studies done on on B vitamins as a mosquito repellent have not been shown to be effective. Given the many factors involved in this type of study further study is needed, as some of the researchers note.

There may be something to the idea that B vitamins can aid in repelling mosquito but at the moment there is no evidence to support the claim.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.