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About the Vitamins & Minerals in Huel

Vitamins and minerals, also known as micronutrients, are not only necessary for good health, but may also aid in disease prevention; 28 vitamins and minerals are designated as essential for humans to include in their diets to, at least, minimum levels. We’ve designed the Huel formula so that it contains at least the recommended daily amount (RDA) of every vitamin and mineral required in the human diet at a 2,000-calorie daily intake of Huel. The RDA for vitamins and minerals is formally referred to as the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or Daily Value (DV).

Nearly half of the vitamins and minerals in US Huel v1.1 are naturally occurring from the food ingredients. The remainder have been added as part of a proprietary micronutrient blend, designed to reach the appropriate DV of each micronutrient. We’ve even added more in cases for which we feel a higher intake of a particular micronutrient is beneficial for optimum nutrition and disease prevention. The Huel micronutrient blend also contains some phytonutrients – substances found in plant foods which, while not essential, may exhibit additional health benefits.

Some micronutrients interact with other constituents in food. In some cases, the actual amount absorbed can be reduced by these antinutrients. 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 is Natural?

The following table shows percentages of each micronutrient and the main phytonutrients in Huel provided by the food ingredients, compared to what we’ve added from our proprietary micronutrient blend. In addition, the table shows the approximate total percentage of each micronutrient and the main phytonutrients in US Huel v1.1 which are from natural sources.

Micronutrient % from food ingredients % from VM blend % natural
Vitamin A 1% 99% 100%
Vitamin D2 0% 100% 100%
Vitamin D3 0% 100% 100%
Vitamin E 7% 93% 100%
Vitamin K1 100% 0% 100%
Vitamin K2 0% 100% 100%
Vitamin C 0% 100% 0%
Thiamin 100% 0% 100%
Riboflavin 21% 79% 21%
Niacin 30% 70% 30%
Vitamin B6 26% 74% 26%
Folate 40% 60% 100%
Vitamin B12 0% 100% 0%
Biotin 92% 8% 92%
Pantothenic acid 27% 73% 27%
Choline 50% 50% 50%
Potassium 30% 70% 98%
Chloride 0% 100% 98%
Calcium 35% 65% 35%
Phosphorus 45% 55% 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 0% 100% 0%
Molybdenum 100% 0% 100%
Iodine 0% 100% 0%
Avenanthramides 100% 0% 100%
Ferulic acid 100% 0% 100%
Lignans 100% 0% 100%
Tocols 100% 0% 100%
Lycopene 0% 100% 100%
Lutein 1% 99% 100%
Zeaxanthin 0% 100% 100%
Total 51% 55% 82%

About the Vitamin Sources in Huel

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

Vitamin D – The vitamin D in Huel 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 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.

Vitamin E – Some of the vitamin E in Huel 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).

Vitamin K – Huel contains both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. As vitamin K2 has other health benefits over and above the actions of K1 – it’s an anti-inflammatory and supports bone health – the primary source in v1.1 is K2. All of the K1 is from the main ingredients. Vitamin K2 is naturally produced from bacteria and 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 added as part of the micronutrient blend.

Vitamin C – The ascorbic acid – the name for vitamin C – is synthetically produced in Huel’s vitamin mineral blend. We feel the DV 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. This is why we’ve included it in a high amount.

Thiamin – All of the thiamin in Huel is naturally occurring from the oats and flaxseed.

Riboflavin – Some of the riboflavin in Huel comes from the oats and flaxseed ingredients, while the remainder is the same type of riboflavin you get in most vitamin supplements.

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

Vitamin B6 – About 26% of the B6 in Huel is from the oats and flaxseed, while the remainder is added in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride which is a synthetically-made, approved form.

Folate – The additional folate source in Huel is natural L-methylfolate calcium, which has a higher bioavailability than the more common supplementary form, folic acid. About 40% of the folate in Huel comes from the natural ingredients.

Vitamin B12 – As vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, and Huel is vegan, all of the B12 in Huel is 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 – Over 92% of the biotin in Huel is from the main ingredients, and the rest is D-biotin added as part of the micronutrient blend.

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

Choline – Although choline is a non-essential B vitamin, the FDA have set a DV because of certain health advantages when consumed. About a half of the choline in Huel is natural from the main ingredients. We've included additional amounts in Huel’s vitamin mineral blend in the synthetic form L-choline bitartrate, which has a high absorption rate and is the preferred form approved for food fortification.

Mineral & Trace Element Sources in Huel

Sodium – 80% of the sodium in Huel is provided from the food ingredients. The remainder is from Huel’s micronutrient blend as it’s required to supply and help the stability of some of the other minerals.

Potassium & Chloride – 30% of the potassium in Huel is provided by the food ingredients. The remainder is added as part of the micronutrient blend in the forms of potassium chloride, potassium phosphate and potassium iodide. Potassium chloride is non-synthetic and also provides much of the chloride in Huel; only a release agent in this ingredient is synthetic (less than 1%). The chloride level is also met from sodium chloride, magnesium chloride (both non-synthetic) and chromium chloride.

Calcium – The amount of calcium we’ve included in Huel is high and more than meets the DV Around 35% of the calcium in Huel is from the main ingredients, while the rest is added in the form of calcium carbonate.

Phosphorus – The phosphorus in Huel is all natural with sufficient to meet the DV coming from the oats, pea protein and flaxseed. However, additional is present in the form potassium phosphate added purely to meet the high potassium requirement.

Magnesium – Oats, flaxseed and brown rice protein are all rich in magnesium and supply all the magnesium in Huel.

Iron – Huel needs a high iron content, as the phytic acid from the oats as well as the high calcium content of Huel can reduce the amount of iron that’s absorbed. As the pea protein, brown rice protein, oats, and flaxseed are all rich in iron, there is a large amount of nonheme 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 is all naturally occurring from the oats, pea protein and flaxseed.

Copper – The copper in Huel is naturally occurring from the oats and flaxseed ingredients.

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

Selenium – All of the selenium in Huel is naturally occurring from the main ingredients.

Chromium – The chromium in Huel has been added in the form of chromium chloride.

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

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

Phytonutrients in Huel

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

Ferulic acid – This antioxidant in Huel is provided from the oats and flaxseed.

Lignans – These are present in the flaxseed and have been associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (4).

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

Lycopene – Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and has been shown to support a healthy cardiovascular system and protect cells against oxidative damage that could otherwise lead to poor health (5). The lycopene in Huel is naturally obtained from tomatoes and maize and added as part of our micronutrient blend.

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 (6,7). Lutein is also an interesting antioxidant. A small amount of lutein in Huel is present from the flaxseed, 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 has been shown to be involved in the prevention of macular degeneration (7). The zeaxanthin in Huel is provided as part of the addition of the natural lutein extract.

Huel vs Tablets

Many people include a vitamin or mineral supplement as part of their daily diet; over half of Americans consume supplements daily, with many of these supplements being 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.

Many people who base their diets around fast food or pre-packaged, convenience foods with poor nutritional value feel that that they're “OK” if they have a vitamin and mineral supplement, assuming this will provide what they’re missing from their unhealthy diet. However, not only are some of the forms potentially not bioavailable, 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. Consuming Huel as one, or even as two or more meals throughout the day ensures that the body is consistently getting the micronutrient nourishment it needs.

Huel vs Greens Powders

Also popular are greens powders that supplement companies claim to be extracted from vegetables or so-called super foods. These can be problematic because there often is little or no information as to the amounts and which vegetables are used in the formula, or even 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 is 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, Schurgers LJ & Uenishi K. Comparison of menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7 bioavailability in healthy women. Nutr J. 2012;(12);11:93.
  4. 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.
  5. Linus Pauling Institute. α-Carotene, β-Carotene, β-Cryptoxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids
  6. 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): 216-230.
  7. Semba RD & Dagneilie G. Are lutein and zeaxanthin conditionally essential nutrients for eye health? Med Hypotheses. 2003;61(4): 465-472.

 

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