Do Iron Supplements Discourage Mosquitoes?

While reading your posts about the treatment of bug bites, I remembered a mosquito bite prevention I found out 33 years ago. As a child, I used to get eaten up every time spring and summer rolled around. When I was pregnant with my last child I noticed everyone was getting a lot of bites except for me. I casually mentioned it to my obstetrician and he said it was the iron in the prenatal vitamins I was taking. He said the mosquitoes don't like the smell of you.


I still take regular vitamins with iron (not the prenatal ones) every day. I really don't get bit as much as my family does. The doctor said you may get one or two every once in a while but not like other people. Maybe this vitamin tip has some credence.

If anyone who takes vitamins with iron daily sees this, and has noticed the same thing about mosquito bites, please post a response. It may work on flea bites as well. Do NOT go out and purchase vitamins without talking to your doctor first.

Source: personal knowledge and a tip from my doctor

By grammy123 from Kemp, Texas

June 19, 20090 found this helpful

I take iron supplements every day and haven't noticed a bit of difference. I have found it helps to take Vitamin B1. Supposedly insects can smell it through your skin.

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June 19, 20090 found this helpful

A friend told me his father and other Australian army guys were giving large doses of Vit B2 while stationed in Papua New Guinea during World War 2. It was to ward off the mossies (because of malaria) and his father said it worked well. Now you can buy mossie repellents with Vit B2 as an ingredient.

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June 20, 20090 found this helpful

I too have had good luck with B1 vitamins. Have used for several years. Got tip from outdoorsy friend bout 15 years ago.

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June 20, 20090 found this helpful

Be careful with this. Taking supplements, especially those that aren't water-soluble, can be a risky way to ward off mosquitoes--and can cost much more than a bit of citronella oil!

Your body has no way to rid itself of excess iron, except for menstruation--which doesn't apply to everyone and can't necessarily eliminate enough if you take too much iron. Excess iron is stored in your liver, pancreas, and heart. ( Iron overload, iron toxicity, and even death can result. The excess iron can build up inside your blood vessels just like cholesterol-based plaque can, increasing risk of heart attack, stroke, etc.

It's especially important to keep healthy children from getting into your iron supplements. "Iron overdose has been one of the leading causes of death caused by toxicological agents in children younger than 6 years" (

For people who might not get enough iron (teen girls often need more iron, and pregnant women often need more than is in their ordinary diets, for example), supplements can be a great thing. But, if you have enough iron in your diet, adding more is downright dangerous.

B vitamins, except B6 and B12, are readily excreted in urine, so they're much less likely to cause a problem. I have no idea if they'd help ward off mosquito bites, though.

I'm not a doctor, so please don't take this as medical advice--just the product of a lifetime spent in the vicinity of science research, and a bit of internet digging. For more information, talk with your doctor and/or Google [iron toxicity].

I also don't want to seem like a wet blanket ... just figured that putting some of this information here might be important, because I wouldn't want anyone here to take too much and get sick!

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October 16, 20120 found this helpful

I wouldn't take iron for all the reasons others posted above. But I can say that B1 does keep them away too. I've tried it myself after reading a magazine article several years ago. I took a B complex daily for the spring and summer and that helped me.

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