About the Vitamins & Minerals in Huel Products

Vitamins and minerals, also known as micronutrients, are necessary for disease prevention and good health, and 26 of them are essential for humans to include in their diets to, at least, minimum levels. We’ve designed the Huel Product formulas so they contain at least the recommended daily amount (RDA), or nutrient reference value (NRV), of every vitamin and mineral required in the human diet at a 2,000kcal intake.

Over half the vitamins and minerals in Huel Powders are naturally occurring from the food ingredients. The remainder has been added as part of a bespoke micronutrient blend, designed to reach the appropriate NRV of each micronutrient or, in some cases, we’ve added more where we feel a higher intake of a particular micronutrient is beneficial for optimum nutrition and disease prevention. The micronutrient blend also contains some phytonutrients – substances found in plant foods which, while not essential, may exhibit some health benefits like disease prevention.

Some micronutrients interact with other constituents in food. In some cases, the actual amount absorbed can be reduced by these anti-nutrients. To make sure you’re actually absorbing sufficient amounts of every micronutrient to provide your body with what it needs, we’ve added more of some nutrients to compensate for this.

How Much of Each Micronutrient in Huel Powders is Natural?

The following table shows the percentages of each micronutrient and the main phytonutrients in Huel Powders provided by the food ingredients compared to what we’ve added from our bespoke micronutrient blend. In addition, the tables show the approximate total percentage of each micro- and phytonutrient in the Huel Powders that are from natural sources.Huel Powder v3.0 (based on Vanilla - figures may differ slightly between flavours).

Micronutrient  % from food ingredients  % from VM blend  % natural
Vitamin A 2 98 2
Vitamin D2 0 100 100
Vitamin D3 0 100 100
Vitamin E 41 59 100
Vitamin K1 100 0 100
Vitamin K2 0 100 0
Vitamin C 100 0 100
Thiamin 79 21 79
Riboflavin 20 80 20
Niacin 11 89 11
Vitamin B6 23 77 23
Folate 21 79 21
Vitamin B12 0 100 0
Biotin 100 0 100
Pantothenic acid 23 77 23
Choline 100 0 100
Sodium >99 <1 100
Potassium 31 69 58
Chloride 0 >99 >99
Calcium 49 51 49
Phosphorus 100 0 100
Magnesium 100 0 100
Iron 100 0 100
Zinc 100 0 100
Copper 100 0 100
Manganese 100 0 100
Selenium 100 0 100
Chromium 100 0 100
Molybdenum 100 0 100
Iodine 100 0 100
Avenanthramides 100 0 100
Beta-Carotene 100 0 100
Ferulic acid 100 0 100
Tocols 100 0 100
Lycopene 0 100 0
Lutein 0 100 100
Zeaxanthin 0 100 100
Total 60 40 75

Huel Black Edition (based on Vanilla - figures may differ slightly between flavours)

Micronutrient  % from food ingredients  % from VM blend  % natural
Vitamin A 2 98 2
Vitamin D2 0 100 100
Vitamin D3 0 100 100
Vitamin E 100 0 100
Vitamin K2 0 100 0
Vitamin C 0 100 0
Thiamin 80 20 80
Riboflavin 7 93 7
Niacin 10 90 10
Vitamin B6 14 86 14
Folate 12 88 12
Vitamin B12 0 100 0
Biotin 100 0 100
Pantothenic acid 14 86 14
Choline 100 0 100
Sodium >99 <1 100
Potassium 31 69 53
Chloride 0 >99 >99
Calcium 49 51 49
Phosphorus 100 0 100
Magnesium 100 0 100
Iron 100 0 100
Zinc 100 0 100
Copper 100 0 100
Manganese 100 0 100
Selenium 100 0 100
Chromium 100 0 100
Molybdenum 100 0 100
Iodine 0 100 0
Avenanthramides 100 0 100
Beta-Carotene 100 0 100
Ferulic acid 100 0 100
Tocols 100 0 100
Lycopene 0 100 0
Lutein 0 100 100
Zeaxanthin 0 100 100
Total 53 44 68

About the Vitamin Sources in Huel Products

Vitamin A – Almost all of the vitamin A in Huel products is added in the form of retinyl acetate, which has equally good bioavailability as any other supplementary form of vitamin A.

Vitamin D – The vitamin D in Huel Powders is present in two active forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Ergocalciferol is naturally produced from the fermentation of plant sources. The cholecalciferol we use in Huel Powders is plant-derived form lichens and is vegan-certified (most sources of vitamin D3 are animal sourced). Vitamin D3 is the more bioavailable form, but the action of both D2 and D3 once absorbed is efficient. The amount of vitamin D in Huel is 300% of the NRV to ensure there’s plenty of this vital nutrient.

Vitamin E – Some of the vitamin E in Huel Powder v3.0 is naturally occurring from the food ingredients and we’ve added the bulk of the extra in the form of D-alpha tocopheryl acetate; this is a natural form of supplementary vitamin E derived from vegetable oil. D-alpha-tocopherol acetate is the most bioavailable form of alpha-tocopherol, meaning it’s the type that it is better absorbed and utilised than other forms[1.2]. As Huel Black Edition has a higher fat content than v3.0, all of the vitamin E is naturally occurring from the main ingredients.

Vitamin K – Huel Powder v3.0 contains both vitamin K1 and K2. All of the K1 is from the main ingredients.. Vitamin K2 has numerous health benefits - it’s an anti-inflammatory and helps with bone health - so it’s the principal form of added vitamin K. Vitamin K2 refers to several variants of the vitamin: MK-7 is the most biologically effective form (due to its stability[3]) and is the form we’ve used in all Huel products.

Vitamin C – In Huel Powder v3.0, the vitamin C is provided by acerola cherries which are naturally high in vitamin C.. We feel the NRV for vitamin C is too low and that there are health advantages to having higher amounts, as well as the fact that it helps promote iron bioavailability, which is why we’ve included it in a high amount. In Huel Black Edition, RTD and Bar, ascorbic acid is the form of vitamin C that’s been added: the most common supplementary form.

Thiamin – Over three quarters of the folate in Huel Powder v3.0 and Black Edition is naturally occurring from the oats (v3.0 only) and flaxseed. The remainder is added as thiamin mononitrate. Huel RTD and Bar also contain added thiamin mononitrate.

Riboflavin – Some of the riboflavin comes from the oats (except Black Edition) and flaxseed ingredients, and the remainder is the same type of riboflavin you get in most vitamin supplements. This is true for all Huel products.

Niacin – Some of the niacin in Huel products is from the natural ingredients, but a bulk is added in the form of niacinamide, a synthetic form approved for food fortification.

Vitamin B6 – About one-quarter of the B6 in Huel Powder v3.0 is from the oats and flaxseed, this is slightly less for Huel Black Edition. The remainder is added in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride which is a synthetically made, approved form.

Folate – Some of the folate is naturally occurring from the main ingredients. The major folate source in Huel productsis L-methylfolate calcium which has a higher bioavailability than the more common supplementary form, folic acid.

Vitamin B12 – As vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products and Huel products are vegan, all the B12 in Huel productsis added in our micronutrient blend in the form of cyanocobalamin. ​Although this form is artificial, other forms are either not as well absorbed by the body or are not stable in food products over shelf-life, so nutritionally cyanocobalamin is the superior form of B12.​

Biotin – 100% of the biotin in Huel products is naturally occurring from the main ingredients.

Pantothenic acid – Some of the pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, in Huel products comes from the natural ingredients; the rest is added in the supplementary form of calcium-D-pantothenate.

Choline – Although choline is a non-essential nutrient, and hence has no minimum recommended daily intake, there are health benefits from having a good amount in your diet and many plant-based diets have been shown to have an inadequate amount[4]] . Huel products contain a high amount of natural choline from the main ingredients.

Mineral & Trace Element Sources in Huel Products

Sodium – 99% of the sodium in Huel is provided from the food ingredients. There is a tiny amount in our micronutrient blend which is there to help the stability of some of the other minerals.

Potassium & Chloride – Around a third of the potassium in Huel Powders is provided by the food ingredients. The remainder is added as part of the micronutrient blend in the forms potassium chloride and potassium citrate. Potassium chloride is non-synthetic and also provides all the chloride in Huel, only a release agent in this ingredient is synthetic (less than 1%).

Calcium – The amount of calcium we’ve included in Huel products is higher than the EU NRV as we feel the minimum requirements for many people should be nearer 1,000 mg per day. Around half of the calcium in Huel Powders is from the main ingredients and the rest is added in the form of calcium carbonate.

Phosphorus – The phosphorus in Huel Powders is all naturally provided by the oats (v3.0 only), pea protein and flaxseed powder.

Magnesium – Oats (v3.0 only), flaxseed and brown rice protein are all rich in magnesium meaning that no additional magnesium needs to be added to the Huel Powders.

Iron – Huel Powders need a high iron content as the high calcium content of Huel Powders as well as the phytic acid from the oats (v3.0 only) can reduce the amount of iron that’s absorbed. As the pea protein, brown rice protein, oats (v3.0 only) and flaxseed are all rich in iron, there is a large amount of non-haem iron in Huel naturally, ensuring that adequate amounts are absorbed. The additional vitamin C also helps to promote iron absorption.

Zinc – The zinc in Huel Powders is all naturally occurring from the oats (v3.0 only), pea protein and flaxseeds. Additional zinc oxide is added to Huel RTD and Bar.

Copper – The copper in Huel Powders and Bar is naturally occurring from flaxseed and in Huel Powder v3.0 oats also contribute to the copper present. Additional copper gluconate is added to Huel RTD.

Manganese – There is a high level of manganese in Huel products, and it’s all naturally occurring mainly from the oats (which are very manganese-rich hence Huel Powder v3.0 containing more manganese than Black Edition) and flaxseed. Although the level of manganese is high, this is not of concern as you can read here.

Selenium – All the selenium in Huel Powders and Bar is naturally occurring from the main ingredients. Additional natural yeast-derived selenium is added to Huel RTD.

Chromium – All the chromium in Huel Powder and Bar is naturally-occurring from the main ingredients. Additional chromium has been added to Huel RTD in the form of chromium picolinate.

Molybdenum – All the molybdenum in all Huel products is naturally occurring from the main ingredients.

Iodine – The iodine in Huel is added as potassium iodide which is synthetically produced.

Phytonutrients in Huel Products

Avenanthramides – These are antioxidant polyphenolic compounds uniquely found in oats and, as oats are the largest ingredient in Huel Powder v3.0, there are high levels of avenanthramides.

Beta-Carotene – This is an antioxidant that gives the orange colour to foods like carrots. The beta-carotene in Huel products comes from the flaxseed and sunflower oil powder.

Ferulic acid – This antioxidant in Huel Powders is provided from the oats (v3.0 only) and flaxseed.

Lignans – These are present in the flaxseeds and have been associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease[5].

Tocols – These are natural antioxidants, some of which have vitamin E activity and are abundant in Huel Powders.

Lycopene – Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers[6]. The lycopene in Huel Powders is synthetically produced and added as part of our micronutrient blend. It’s identical to the natural form found in tomatoes and maize.

Lutein – Although not essential per se, there is concern that diets low in this phytonutrient may lead to macular degeneration of the eye in the elderly, as lutein is involved in eye pigment development[7,8]. Lutein is also an interesting antioxidant. A small amount of lutein in Huel Powders is present from the flaxseeds, and we've also added additional natural lutein extracted from the Mexican marigold plant.

Zeaxanthin – Zeaxanthin is another phytonutrient which is both an antioxidant and is involved in the prevention of macular degeneration[7]. The zeaxanthin in Huel Powders is provided as part of the addition of the natural lutein extract.

Huel Products vs Tablets

Many people include a vitamin or mineral supplement as part of their daily diet; over half of Americans consume supplements daily and many of these are multi-vitamins. Mostly these are taken once a day as a multivitamin and mineral formula. Multivitamin and mineral supplements vary in quality; in many, the form of the micronutrient may not actually be absorbed very well.

A lot of people who base their diets around convenience foods with poor nutritional value, feel that they're OK if they have a vitamin and mineral supplement, and they assume that this provides what they’re missing out on. However, some of the forms may not be bioavailable, and they’re also depending on taking this once per day. Some micronutrients are also not stored very well. Consuming a balanced varied diet including whole foods, would typically mean eating three to four times per day, giving a steady influx of nutrition.

As Huel products are consumed as one, two or more meals or spread through the day, this provides an advantage over multivitamin pills, giving a steady influx of micronutrients.

Huel Products vs Greens Powders

Also popular are greens powders that supplement companies claim to be extracted from vegetables or so-called superfoods. The problem with these are that there is little or no information as to the amounts and which vegetables are used in the formula and which micronutrients these contain. Indeed, during the processing of the powders there may be significant losses of some vitamins and minerals. If you plan on using a greens powder, it would be worth checking with the manufacturer to provide information about what micronutrients are in the product and at what levels. As Huel products are based on foods and topped up with a micronutrient blend, you know what you’re getting.

References

  1. Kiyose C, et al. Biodiscrimination of alpha-tocopherol stereoisomers in humans after oral administration. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997; 65(3):785-9.
  2. Burton GW, et al. Human plasma and tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations in response to supplementation with deuterated natural and synthetic vitamin E. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998; 67(4):669-84.
  3. Sato T, et al. Comparison of menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7 bioavailability in healthy women. Nutr J. 2012; 11:93.
  4. Derbyshire E. Could we be overlooking a potential choline crisis in the United Kingdom? BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. 2019:bmjnph-2019-000037.
  5. Vanharanta M, et al. Risk of cardiovascular disease-related and all-cause death according to serum concentrations of enterolactone: Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Arch Intern Med. 2003; 163(9):1099-104.
  6. Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University. Carotenoids. Date Accessed: 07/11/19. [Available from: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids].
  7. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004; 75(4):216-30.
  8. Semba RD, et al. Are lutein and zeaxanthin conditionally essential nutrients for eye health? Med Hypotheses. 2003; 61(4):465-72.

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