Ticks and Vitamin B

To: Bob & Sadhana Cook <>
Subject: Ticks and Vitamin B
From: (Andrew Taylor)
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 10:24:12 +1000
On Fri, Aug 22, 2003 at 09:20:10AM +1000, Bob & Sadhana Cook wrote:
> Interesting, Paul, that the web article you refer to says nothing about
> Vitamin B, only about other alternative methods.  So your statement that
> "it's an urban legend" also is a bit lacking in discipline and validity!!
> I have found that regular intake of Vitamin B has been quite effective in
> discouraging mosquitoes both in tropical Australia and SE Asia.  While not a
> scientific study, my experience has been backed up by several other
> travellers we have discussed this with.

The New England Journal of medicine paper referred to on the "urban legend"
web site, can be found here:

The authors say this:
"Most alternatives to topically applied repellents have proved to
 be ineffective. No ingested compound, including garlic and thiamine
 (vitamin B1), has been found to be capable of repelling biting arthropods"
The references they cite are appended.

There is also interesting piece on mosquito repellant use by
ADF soldiers at:

These authors say:

"The systemic use of high doses of vitamin B1, long advocated as having
 mosquito-repellent properties, is totally unfounded and lacks any
 scientific validity."

Its quite possible studies done on B1 have not been appropriate to exhibit
its efficacy, but personally I'd be surprised if ingested B vitamins
were effective and it hadn't been verified by military researchers.
Mosquito-borne disease is of major interest to any army which may be
deployed in the tropics.  Much of the work on anti-malarials has been
done by the military.


Khan AA, Maibach HI, Strauss WG, Fenley WR. Vitamin B1 is not a
systemic mosquito repellent in man. Trans St Johns Hosp Dermatol Soc

Strauss WG, Maibach HI, Khan AA. Drugs and disease as mosquito repellents
in man. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1968;17:461-464.

Food and Drug Administration. Drug products containing active ingredients
offered over-the-counter (OTC) for oral use as insect repellents. Fed
Regist 1983;48:26987-26987.

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