Organic Version? Cyanocobalamin vs methyl-cobalamin - Sunflower Oil- HUEL BLACK

Hey There,

Fairly new HUEL user here (4 months) and I love the Black Version. Had a couple questions.

1. Any chance of getting an organic version of Huel?

Would love to see an organic version, and would be willing to pay more- Would be more willing to try a Savory option if it were Organic as well.

2. Why use methylfolate but not methylcobalamin (b12)

I LOVED the fact this has L-Methylfolate instead of folic acid (part of the reason I chose Huel over others). My question is why this uses synthetic Cyanocobalam instead of methylated cobalamin - seems weird doing one and not the other.

3. Any chance of replacing sunflower Oil with a healthier alternative?

I understand this is a topic of some debate, whether or not sunflower oil is healthy or not.
I really try to avoid sunflower oil in my diet, and was bummed to see it in Huel - though was not a deal breaker. Any chances that alternatives are being looked at (olive oil) or something less controversial?

I saw another post about potentially adding algal oil for omegas, and would love to see Huel address the ALA to EPA DHA conversion with algal or some other source.

Welcome! These topics have been covered at length on other posts, have you tried checking those out for responses from the Huel staff?

Hi Jacob, welcome and happy to hear you are enjoying Huel Black Edition! :slight_smile:

As David mentioned, these topics have been addressed previously, but I thought I would give you a brief overview here!

Making an organic product at this time would be more expensive and we strive to make food that is nutritionally complete while also being affordable, good for you and the planet, and time saving!

We use cyanocobalamin as it is vegan, more stable, and better absorbed. I’ve linked the page here where we discuss this as well as the other vitamins and minerals in Huel and why we chose the versions we did!

Sunflower oil provides omega 6s (which we need) as well as a couple vitamins! This page goes into greater detail about the main benefits that I mentioned above, it discusses sunflower oil generally, as well as sunflower oil’s use in Huel.

We have looked into algal oil but due to the amount that would need to be added to achieve adequate amounts of DHA/EPA, the taste was the biggest barrier. We currently use flaxseed which provides Huel with both adequate amounts of DHA/EPA through conversion of ALA as well as palatability. See here for the more detailed forum post on that!

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Thank you so much! Going to read up on these. Really appreciate it. That said, I do think some people would be willing to pay more for an Organic version (me included)

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I really wish they use methyl or hydroxy cobalamin - as the cyano doesn’t get absorbed well and really damages the kidneys - even if others say it’s not significant - it’s enough for me to not like it. My kidneys get into pain whenever I eat the cyano.

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Dr. G is the man! I’ve read all his books and they’re a treasure trove of unbiased information.

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We appreciate the suggestions regarding other forms to use, but we found that for now, cyanocobalamin seems to be the best option as it is not only vegan but also has other attributes that make it a better fit for Huel, which I discuss above. We are always looking out for the newest research and ways to improve Huel so please be sure to send along any research you find!

Deficiencies of certain key nutrients (like B12 and folate) and/or the inability to properly metabolize and absorb these nutrients can lead to an increase in homocysteine and this is what can have negative effects on various functions in the body. Huel is food and should not be used for supplementation purposes. For example and comparison with supplementation, there are 0.8 mcg of B12 in Huel per serving versus upwards of 1000 mcg of B12 with supplementation.

I have not been able to find current research to support cyanocobalamin (even through higher dose supplementation) damaging kidney function of healthy individuals. For those with kidney disease or decreased kidney function, vitamin and mineral supplementation should be reviewed with their medical team and varies based on the individual.

Nutrition research can also be tricky! Some points to take into consideration include that sometimes the number of participants is low and thus the results are not strong and should not be used for general recommendations, sometimes the dosages that are supplemented with are incredibly high (and higher than a person would normally be consuming), and sometimes the research does not take the whole picture into account and there could be confounding factors.

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Thanks, let’s try to figure this out! You’re right though: scientific studies aren’t there for every situation and medical condition and unfortunately there aren’t many (if any) studies on healthy individuals taking cyanocobalamin to know much about it.

Cyanocobalamin has issues (see below), but has solutions (it could even be converted via light). It may be less ideal than other cobalamins (due to absorption and benefits outside of nutrition (w/ cyanide poisoning (hydroxo- and methyl-), vision improvement), etc.), but that’s not really relevant to Huel. Maybe my issues were due to salt (as cyanocobalamin’s an analgesic)?

TL:DR
Because Huel is not a supplement, reaching for one (or a supplemented food) can put people at risk for high doses (some cyanocobalamin pills are 42,000% daily value!). Planning is key.

Negatives:

negative of others: Injected hydroxocobalamin can cause people to faint, but might be better when combined with oxygen.

The rest of the studies showed positives. I think Dr. Greger looked at other studies than me.

Too bad we can’t just put back the good bacteria (like B12-producing ones) after sanitizing produce.

Yes! There is not much research on B12 when taken orally in any form, and in the studies that do exist on healthy individuals, cyanocobalamin is not harmful. As is true with a majority of research on nutrition, more is always needed!

And yes, Huel is not a supplement, Huel is food! Thus, when looking at or discussing cyanocobalamin used in supplemental amounts, which are very high, it is not comparable.

Research on B12 and the best form for absorption are also inconclusive. Here are two more pieces of research #1 and #2 that discuss this. However, these are also looking at supplementation, not within food, and mostly in those with deficiency, so as I mentioned above it is not comparable.

In addition to taking other factors into consideration (as I mentioned in the last post about homocysteine, dosage, and prior medical history), you also want to try to be careful about making general statements surrounding the efficacy of nutrients unless there is strong research for that claim. The amount of B12 in Huel per serving should not be worrisome. It is in Huel to provide you with adequate, not excessive or supplemental levels of, this essential vitamin.

For those with kidney disease or decreased kidney function, there are many factors that need to be considered as it is very complex and there could be other confounding factors (like dietary intake). The same is true for both those who smoke and those with inflammatory bowel disease - there can be other confounding factors that should be examined/controlled for in the research and this research cannot be applied to the general population.

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I think we’re in congruence on most of this, except one:

Your studies are not inconclusive, both studies show the same conclusion. It’s just that each study has a different:

  • medium (liquid, pill, etc.)
  • route of administration (IV, oral, etc.)
  • health conditions (healthy, smoker, etc.)
  • indicators/biomarkers (holoTC, urine vs blood, etc.)
    • retainment, absorption, excretion
  • age

So comparing studies with different conditions doesn’t make sense. I see where the mistake is made, and that’s with me - I put the wrong link for absorption. I apologize.

I actually was comparing methyl to cyano, whereas you compared hydroxo to cyano. Here’s methyl vs cyano: http://rxfx.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/MethylcobalaminDRS.pdf. I can’t find the original one I looked at. I must’ve cut it out, but it shows that methyl absorbs better orally than cyano - most studies I looked at showed that consistently.

Studies have shown that there is no verifiable difference in organic/non-organic foods. Stores just charge more for the fancy name. Yes, some chemicals aren’t used, some farming procedures are practiced one way and not the other that improves the environment and livestock health, but nutrients and vitamins are the same.

Just jumping in here on the methylcobalamin point. It’s not that stable over shelf-life in foods, so this is a key reason why we have chosen cyanocobalamin.

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