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Huel Version 2.2

Huel Version 2.2 - the principal changes

In June 2015 Huel was launched, which was shortly followed by a couple of formula tweaks and Huel v1.2 was successfully sold for over 9 months.  Always innovating, we felt there were changes we could make to further improve Huel.  In August 2016 we launched v2.0 and in November 2016 we launched v2.1; you can read the changes here and here respectively. Now we have Huel v2.2 with a few new important changes, although the main ingredients remain unchanged: Huel is primarily oats, pea protein, flaxseeds, brown rice protein, MCT from coconut and sunflower powder.

1) Removal of carrageenan and an improved texture

Some customers were unhappy with the use of carrageenan as one of the thickeners in Huel. Through extensive trials, we’ve managed to avoid the need to use carrageenan by adjusting the ratios of xanthan and guar gum and just using these two. The result is, we feel, an even more improved texture.

2) Now using natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate as our additional vitamin E source

Some of the vitamin E in Huel comes from the main ingredients and we’ve topped this up using additional vitamin E. Huel aims to incorporate as many natural ingredients as possible, so we’ve changed from DL-alpha tocopherol acetate to natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate. Moreover, D-alpha-tocopherol acetate is the most bioavailable form of alpha-tocopherol, meaning it’s better absorbed and utilised than other forms(1,2).

3) Changed to retinol acetate for vitamin A

Previously we used retinol palmitate as our source of vitamin A which is derived from palm oil. Our suppliers couldn't be sure that the palm oil was from sustainable sources, so instead we have switched to using retinol acetate, an alternative form that continues to provide optimal levels of vitamin A. Even though only a tiny amount of retinol palmitate was used we felt it the right thing to do; as they say, every little helps.

4) Increased level of vitamin B12

Studies have indicated that an intake of vitamin B12 higher than that of the EU Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) may be beneficial long term as it’s involved in helping to prevent cognitive degeneration with age and reducing symptoms of depression in the elderly(3,4,5,6,7).

We have increased the amount of vitamin B12 in Huel v2.2 to 4μg per 2,000 calories (160% of the NRV) which provides plenty to cover essential requirements as well as to help prevent the loss of age-related cognitive function. As there is no upper limit for B12 intake, if you’re consuming large amounts of Huel you won’t be taking too much vitamin B12.

5) Increase the amount of vitamin D

We’ve increased the amount of vitamin D in Huel v2.2 to 20μg per 2,000 calories (400% of the NRV) and double the recommendation in the 2016 Public Health England report(8). There’s been considerable media attention on vitamin D in 2016-17 following the advice for foods to be fortified with more vitamin D and for us to consume more to help reduce the risk of colds and winter ‘flu’(9,10).

6) Changed to calcium citrate as our source of additional calcium

About two thirds of the calcium in Huel is provided by the main ingredients and in previous versions of Huel, the type of additional calcium we added to meet desired levels was tricalcium phosphate. In Huel v2.2 we’ve changed this to calcium citrate.

Calcium citrate is more expensive but is more rapidly digested than other forms, has greater bioavailability and has no effect on stomach acid(12,13); other forms may be associated with acid reflux(14). The fact that calcium citrate is more readily absorbed, serves not only to improve the body’s calcium status, but may also have a beneficial effect on iron status too, as calcium in the digestive system inhibits the absorption of iron, so with less calcium present, there will be less inhibition of iron.


  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;67:669-84.
  3. Tangney CC, et al. Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: a cross-sectional examination. Neurol. 2011;77(13):1276-82.
  4. Walker JG, et al. Oral folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation to prevent cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptoms - the Beyond Ageing Project: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(1):194-203.
  5. Vogiatzoglou A, et al. Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly. Neurol. 2008;71(11):826-32.
  6. Tiemeier H, et al. Vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine in depression: the Rotterdam Study. Am J Psych. 2002;159(12):2099-2101.
  7. Skarupski KA, et al. Longitudinal association of vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12 with depressive symptoms among older adults over time. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;92(2):330-5.
  8. SACN. Vitamin D and Health Report. 2016.
  11. Martineau AR, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017;356:i6583.
  12. Heaney RP, et al. Absorbability and cost effectiveness in calcium supplementation. J Am Coll Nut. 2001.20(3):239–46.
  13. Tondapu P, et al. Comparison of the Absorption of Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Citrate after Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Obesity Surg. 2009.19 (9): 1256–61.
  14. Harvard Health Publications. What you need to know about calcium. 2009.

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