Mosquitoes must be one of the top five annoying things on the planet. We all know what it's like to have a relaxing picnic interrupted by incessantly itching bites, or to lay awake all night listening to the whining of the little insects flying around our heads, looking for their dinner. There are many ways to ward off biting bugs, from using Vicks VapoRub to eating garlic, and there is one thing these all have in common: to produce an odor that mosquitoes simply don't like.
Fortunately, there is one common vitamin that, when ingested, produces an odor on our skin that is repellent to mosquitoes but undetectable by humans. Read on for this and other great tips for a mosquito-free summer.
1. Take a B1 supplement
That one vitamin is vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine. Although not scientifically proven, many people attest to the effectiveness of vitamin B1 as a mosquito repellent. It also has a plethora of other fantastic health benefits, so why not give it a try?
The recommended dosage is 25 to 50 mg, three times a day. Concentrated supplements are available from the pharmacy, but some common foods are also high in vitamin B1, and adding these delicious foods to your diet could make you less appealing to mosquitoes! Sunflower seeds, beans, whole grains and yeast make the list, as well as kale, cauliflower and broccoli.
And why is B1 so good for us? Here's what we found:
According to Organic Facts, the vitamin plays an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous system, as well as healthy skin, hair, eyes, mouth and liver. It also helps our bodies withstand stress, which we can all use a little help with sometimes!
B1 is a key player in converting sugar into usable energy, and it works as a powerful antioxidant that can slow down the aging process. It is even good for our mental health.
2. Be prepared
Got a holiday coming up? Start taking those B1 supplements two weeks in advance. Love to Know advises that this is roughly how long it takes for the vitamin levels to build up in your body. And on that note, vitamin B1 is water-soluble, meaning it flushes from your body quickly. Keep up your stores of B1 by continuously taking it in supplement form and by snacking on the vitamin-rich foods listed above.
3. Use less bug spray
Most bug sprays contain neurotoxic chemicals such as permethrin and DEET. Love to Know explains that we absorb a lot through our skin, and those chemicals go straight into our bloodstream, so do we really want those harsh chemicals pumping through our bodies? There are some occasions when those bug sprays are the safest option, but for places where mosquitoes don't carry serious diseases, it could be worthwhile trying natural alternatives, such as vitamin B1.
4. Supplement with a natural repellent
If the mosquitoes are out in force, you can add another layer of protection by making your own repellent. Try this recipe, by David Wolfe; it uses only two ingredients! He recommends crushing fresh parsley with apple cider vinegar and leaving it to sit for a few hours. Or you can try these recipes that use a simple mixture of olive oil and essential oils, the scent of which is known to deter bugs. Be sure to dilute the essential oils so that they're safe to use on your skin, and follow the usage instructions carefully; essential oils are not right for everyone.
5. Stop giving mosquitoes a home
Pediatric Insider explains that mosquitoes breed in standing water, so empty any flowerpots, birdbaths or gutters that might be providing an ideal breeding place. Mosquitoes don't venture too far from their homes, so if they can't breed in your backyard, chances are you'll see fewer of them.
To summarize, there are many ways to repel mosquitoes, and you don't always have to put harsh chemicals on your skin to do it. Try using natural bug sprays and being aware of where mosquitoes are breeding around your home, and of course, dose up on that vitamin B1! It is a safe and naturally occurring part of a healthy diet, so you'll notice other great health benefits too.
Note that if you are traveling somewhere with risk of malaria, yellow fever, Zika or other serious diseases carried by mosquitoes, you should consult your doctor to discuss more stringent ways to deter contact. However, if you're looking for a healthy, toxin-free way of deterring mosquitoes and it is safe to risk an occasional bite, stock up on vitamin B1; it's a healthy alternative.