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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 v1.0 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 v1.0 which are from natural sources.

Micronutrient

% from food ingredients

% from VM blend

% natural

Vitamin A

<1%

>99%

>99%

Vitamin D2

0%

100%

100%

Vitamin E

13%

87%

13%

Vitamin K1

24%

76%

24%

Vitamin K2

0%

100%

100%

Vitamin C

0%

100%

0%

Thiamin

100%

0%

100%

Riboflavin

26%

74%

26%

Niacin

13%

87%

13%

Vitamin B6

28%

72%

28%

Folate

42%

58%

100%

Vitamin B12

0%

100%

0%

Biotin

92%

8%

92%

Pantothenic Acid

32%

68%

32%

Choline

22%

78%

22%

Sodium

80%

20%

100%

Potassium

28%

72%

98%

Chloride

0%

100%

>99%

Calcium

36%

64%

36%

Phosphorus

100%

0%

100%

Magnesium

77%

23%

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%

Lycopene

0%

100%

100%

Total

47%

53%

68%

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 in the form of vitamin D2, ergocalciferol, rather than the D3 version which is non-vegan. Ergocalciferol is naturally produced from the fermentation of plant sources and, while D3 may be more bioavailable, the action of both once absorbed has been shown to be the same.

Vitamin E – Some of the vitamin E in Huel is naturally occurring from the food ingredients. We’ve added the bulk of the additional in the form of DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate, a commonly used form of supplementary vitamin E.

Vitamin K – Huel contains both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. The RDI is met by vitamin K1 alone, but, as vitamin K2 has other health benefits – it’s an anti-inflammatory and supports bone health – we’ve included this as an additional ingredient. About 24% of the K1 is from the main ingredients; the remainder is added in our micronutrient blend and is synthetically produced from plant sources. 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(1)) and is the form we’ve used in Huel.

Vitamin C – The ascorbic acid – the name for vitamin C – is synthetically produced in Huel’s vitamin mineral blend. We feel the RDI 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 28% 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 42% 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 – Nearly one third 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 an RDI because of certain health advantages when consumed. About 22% 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 – 28% 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 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 and chromium chloride, all of which are non-synthetic.

Calcium – The amount of calcium we’ve included in Huel is high and more than meets the RDI. Around 36% 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 provided by the oats, pea protein and flaxseed powder.

Magnesium – Oats, flaxseeds and brown rice protein are all rich in magnesium and supply over 77% of the magnesium in Huel. Additional amounts are in the form of magnesium chloride, which is naturally extracted from brine.

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 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 is all naturally occurring from the oats, pea protein and flaxseeds.

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 flaxseeds. 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. 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 flaxseeds.

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.(2)

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. Sato T, Schurgers LJ & Uenishi K. Comparison of menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7 bioavailability in healthy women. Nutr J. 2012;(12);11:93.
  2. Linus Pauling Institute. α-Carotene, β-Carotene, β-Cryptoxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids

 

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