Natural Remedies: Vitamin B1 Wards Off Mosquito & Insect Bites!

June 8, 2010

I despise mosquitoes.  I really do abhor them with the Shakespearean like fire of a thousand suns, but they LOVE me, and even more so, they love sucking my blood. The last time I was in Jamaica I made the mistake of taking a little stroll on the beach on a late night and woke up to almost golf ball sized bites all over my legs. Needless to say, I was on bed rest for the remainder of my vacay thanks to that unexpected mosquito make-out session. This has been going on, for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always been afraid of international travel because I am sure I would be the first one with malaria, and then in my head I imagine people shaking their heads at my funeral saying: “She was a nice girl, with so much potential…too bad she just couldn’t shake those mosquitoes.” Not a cool way to go out. 

Fast forward to last week: as much as I had a blast planting with my mother on Memorial Day in her garden, I wish that fond memories were all that I took with me. The next day I saw about five huge bites on my legs! Sulking and trying not to scratch, I made a run to one of my regular health food stores to find some sort of remedy.  A friend who is a homeopath recommended tea tree oil or Arnica so I immediately went on a hunt in the isle with oils and creams. The saleswoman always friendly and eager to assist approached and asked what was wrong. I had to stop myself from whining as I gave her a slightly dramatic sob-story about my whole life being plagued by mosquitoes, and how I was going to die from malaria, unless I found something GANGSTA to make it stop immediately. She gave me a pat on the back and  told me first to breathe, and that everything would be okay I wasn’t going to die,  I just needed Vitamin B1! I had never heard this before, so I stopped thinking about how bad I wanted to itch my leg and became more attentive. She asked if I had a lot of sugar in my diet. I told her I don’t eat anything with refined sugar, but I do get sugar from fruit. Oh okay, she nodded her head and continued on, “Well honey they are attracted to the sugar in your blood, and you need B1 to repel them, which you can get in nutritional yeast, some soy products (I don’t do soy), brewers yeast, etc.” Then she told me about several other customers with the same exact problem, who completely ended their mosquito drama just by consuming nutritional yeast or a great deal of garlic in pill form, and bugs would not come near them! 

I decided that I would pass on having a garlic smell seeping from my pores on a hot summer day and opted to buy a bag full of nutritional yeast which I have been consuming regularly.  It basically acts as an internal mosquito repellant, which to me seems much better than having to tote around a giant can of bug repellant to all social occasions that involve the open air. Thus far, everything has been A-Okay, no bug bites since then, but the ultimate test would be to hang out near a body of water on a late night and see if I emerge bite-free. For now, I’m not game to be the guinea pig in my own mosquito experiment, I’m just content to know that I may have stumbled upon something long-term that will save me from a lifetime of itching while walking. If you’ve got the buggy blues, or know someone who does, check out the tips below to transition into bug bite-free living. -XoXo Raw Girl

What is Vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1 a.k.a. Thiamine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is a part of the B-complex vitamin family. This important vitamin assists the body in converting blood sugars to glucose and breaking down carbs, proteins, and fats. In addition it supports proper functioning of the heart, maintains the bodies energy supplies, and helps coordinate activities of the muscles and nerves. If one was severely Vitamin B1 deficient this wold lead to a rare condition called Beri Beri, which is characterized by fatigue, degeneration of the muscle tissues, and some forms of psychosis. Alcohol consumption apparently inhibits the absorption of vitamin B1, so excessive drinking could lead to B1 deficiencies.

Signs of B1 Deficiency:

Loss of apetite, fatigue, depression, mental problems, muscle atrophy, memory loss, and rapid heart beat

Some Food Sources of B1:

Nutritional yeast, brewers yeast, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, asparagus, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, spinach,*Maca Powder (this is going to be the next supplement I buy–not only is this ancient Incan super food packed with a range of nutrition, I noticed it has B1–so I can get a nutritional boost and scare mosquitos away in one fell swoop)  Other thing mosquitoes don’t like: Garlic. If your okay with a little garlic breath, buy garlic capsules and consume recommended dosage or incorporate garlic cloves into one of your daily meals.

The Bg Free Livin’ Plan

To ward off the buggies, consume a serving size (something like 2 Tablespoons) of Nutritional yeast each day (can sprinkle in food, add to smoothies etc.), or take garlic capsules,  along with incorporating some Vitamin B1 rich foods for up to 3 weeks until mosquito make out sessions are less frequent. Continue intake ongoing as needed to maintain your bug-free lifestyle.



  1. What about taking b1 capsules?

    • Nicole I’ll have to look into this. My hunch and feeling with most supplements in capsule form is that they most times are not easily absorbed by the body. Thus, foods or high quality liquid supplements are always better. -XoXo Raw Girl

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