Too much iron in huel

I had my blood work done this week and my results came back showing my iron levels too high.

Doc saw this and I showed him Huel’s nutritional info and he has told me that I need to find an alternative (I use huel twice a day and love it and the regiment I’m on).

So, question for huel: any chance for a Huel version with a lower iron count?

If not, does anyone have any suggestions for huel alternatives that sport similar micro and macronutrients but with lower iron levels?

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Do you have any more information on why your doctor blames Huel (that you volunteered) without any other investigation into your health?

Hey! I have the same issue and brought it up with Julian (the founder dude) a few months ago. Apparently the iron is from the oats and the rice protein, so it isn’t going to change.

My iron was too high in late July. Since then I’ve given blood every 8 weeks (red blood cells are made of hemoglobin, which is made from ferritin, which is made from iron) in an attempt to get my iron down. My hemoglobin was a little lower the last time I gave blood, but I don’t plan on having my iron tested until about a month from now.

I’ve looked, and I don’t know of any alternatives to Huel that are as healthy and low GI as Huel, so I’m fine just giving blood instead of changing my diet. Maybe you can ask your doctor about donating blood instead of changing your diet?

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Actually, looking at the nutritional breakdown of v1.1 released two days ago, it has 35 mg iron per 2,000 calories, up from 19 mg iron per 2,000 calories in the original (v1.0-am). I don’t see much of a difference in the ingredients.

@JamesCollier, what accounts for the increase in iron from 19 mg to 35 mg?

All depends on what you consider healthy or what you are looking for, but there are alternatives in the market with low GI and that can do the same function as Huel.

So based on my change in diet since starting huel 2x a day, almost all tracked categories of my blood test have either stayed the same or gotten much better (my cholesterol is better than it’s ever been by quite a large margin) but there’s been a significant spike in my iron levels. Based on how my blood tests have tracked over the course of the last few years, it’s almost certain huel is responsible for it. I am getting some more tests this upcoming week to focus on this aspect of my results but from the preliminary reports it seems it’s been deemed inadvisable for me to continue on the Huel regiment I’m currently on. We’ll see for sure next week.

Just looking for possible alternatives that may work better for my particular needs as the actual consumption habits I’ve developed with huel are largely very advantageous for me.

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If I were to switch to a different meal replacement, I wouldn’t want any of the following things to be significantly higher than Huel:
-Saturated Fat
-Trans Fat
-Glycemic Index

It has to be available in the U.S., too.

I hope the 35 mg iron on the new Huel (v1.1 powder) (up from 19 mg in v1.0-am) is a misprint, but it probably isn’t since it is on all the flavors. The recommended daily allowance for iron for men is 9 mg a day, and it is 18 mg a day for women (27 mg if pregnant). The upper limit is 45 mg. 35 mg per 2,000 calories is only advantageous to anemic people. Plus, it is much more convenient to just take an iron supplement if needed than to find a new meal replacement powder that’s just like Huel. Huel is supposed to be food, not an iron supplement. I hope other Huelers start giving blood very regularly or at least have their iron tested at least once or twice a year; unhealthily high iron levels could become an issue for the many more people.

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Hi guys

The iron level in Huel is due to new sourcing of ingredients and better testing methods. There’s an article coming to the US site in early January which explains the iron level - concerning antinutrients. The article is live on the UK site - if you want to read it click here, but you’ll have to click the flag on the top right and select ‘United Kingdom’ (don’t forget to click back to ‘United States’ after reading!) - do bear in mind the values in the article relate to the UK formula and not US v1.1, though.


Thank you for your quick and very helpful response! You guys are awesome!

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You may have a condition where your body stores too much iron. However, Huel is below the safe upper limit for iron, keeping in mind that this limit was created for meat eaters. The limit that was created for meat eaters is 45 mg, and if you only eight Huel, And you 82,000 cal, you would be getting 35 mg. You have to keep in mind however, that even if you eat more than that and surpass the upper limit for meat eaters, many researchers have determined that vegans require 1.8 times more iron because the iron in plant foods is not absorbed as easily. Though they have not really said so because research is ongoing, this would probably mean that as a vegan, which you would be if you are only eating Huel, Your upper limit would be higher. Also, for most people, they won’t have a problem even if they go over the upper limit. You could only have a problem if you have a condition where your body stores too much iron. Many of us in the United States are low in iron anyways. Therefore, you should be fine. I believe that you should speak to a dietitian about this and not a doctor. How do you even know if reducing your iron will fix your blood stores anyways? Perhaps a dietitian would have other strategies and insights that you have not thought of. Also, if you aren’t using it for every single meal, then it even has less of an effect. I don’t really think that your doctor is taking into account that this is a plant-based diet. Also, how does he know that it is Huel causing this, instead of just a storage problem, or instead of something else that you ate? You should have been having it for several months before your doctor even determines that it is a factor. It would take several months to see the effects in the iron stores probably. Also, when you say your iron is too high, do you mean a little bit high, or way high? Either way, I think you should seek the advice of a dietitian.

Yes. Doctors seem to be very flippant with advice such as “your iron is slightly elevated, find an alternative to whatever it is that put every other metabolic panel measurement in the ideal range”

I second the suggestion to speak with a dietitian. You might also try another doctor with 10 additional minutes in their schedule to actually prove that they’re willing to listen to you before they suggest behavior changes. I know that is easier for me to say than for you to do … but you are ultimately responsible for your health, be sure to find professional partners you can rely on.


Quick question, based on what everyone is saying about high iron levels, what happens if you get too much iron? Besides what your blood work shows, are there physical signs that one is getting too much iron?

I appreciate your feedback and willingness to help but you seem to be flippant in your assessment of my medical care and the doctor I have been speaking with. The doctor is in my family and we have now spent days assessing my blood work and looking at different options. I have just returned from the lab in which I had two follow up draws in which they will be taking a closer look at how I’ve arrived at the high levels of iron I’m currently looking at in my blood.

I should have clarified in my original post that the doctor said I may need to find an alternative to Huel based on my results and the documented iron levels in the product. However, that’s not before we pinpoint that Huel is the culprit.

But to assume my doctor only had a few minutes for me is completely off base; not even sure where you arrived at that conclusion.

You’re right; i don’t know your experience.

I assumed from a sad trope that doctors are generally too busy to provide service. Many blame computers and insurance companies for asking them to do non-doctory stuff in order to be paid.

It’s easy to forget what you wanted to discuss when (some) doctors speak from authority that comes from years of education and a caste of doctors/residents/nurses/etc. Of course not all doctors are this way, prossibly very few, but this stereotype comes from somewhere. So yeah, I jumped to the conclusion you were receiving suboptimal service - if that’s not the case, I apologize and good for you. :slight_smile:

Maybe I was also a little defensive of Huel as a primary source of nutrition. I don’t want to imagine that it had anything to be concerned about: not having to obsess over food is one of the primary features of Huel.

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I just read an interesting article about iron here.

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I did not assume that your doctor only had a few minutes for you. I’m not sure who you were talking to, but I think you must of been talking to another poster. I suggested speaking with a dietitian, not because of whether the doctor would spend time with you or not, but because a dietitian is more specialized. The dietitian can help you figure out your entire diet, and help you figure out if your diet is actually causing this. Most people don’t really keep track of what they eat, and a dietitian is actually trained to ask the right questions and work with someone who doesn’t normally keep track of what they eat to figure out the just of their diet. Regardless of whether the doctor spends time with you or not, they do not have the training of a dietitian, and the dietitian and the doctor can collaborate to figure it out. You could at least ask your doctor what he thinks about both you and him discussing this with a dietitian.

I found an article that talks about what happens if you get too much iron. Basically, overtime, it can cause cell and organ damage. The article also says that you can get iron toxicity from eating too much iron, or because you have a genetic condition that causes you to absorb too much.

This is interesting. I’ve always been anemic and I’ve never felt so good off so little as when I started two meals of Huel, but I never thought about specific nutrients, just the more or less meal option and efficiency of nutrition. The last time I felt this good was when my mom loaded me up on vitamin and nutrient pills. They were great in their results, but it was just a load of pills.

I can see an unfotunate problem if people aren’t in my shoes though or get more iron out of the rest of their diet.

This is interesting, as I have the opposite problem. The doctors can’t suggest why, but although my blood work comes back normal, the only way I can avoid being lightheaded is taking Iron supplements on top of a 3000 calorie a day Huel diet. I also noticed the increased iron and am hoping that will end my need for supplements. The supplements I take are specifically to help ensure it is absorbed effectively too, so maybe that is why. I have read the same about Iron being harder to absorb on a plant based diet.

In my case, I am not overly concerned until there is more detailed proof of any harm. I would rather chance taking too much iron than passing out. The weird part is my iron levels have been normal with all the blood tests I had on Huel only, whether I took the supplements or not. The biggest thing to me is calling much of anything “known”. There are too many variables to consider, so reproducible results of any study may show something is good or bad, but the next study with unavoidable variations will show something else. The biggest variable of all is simple; we are all a little different. What one person needs another cannot tolerate.

With all of that said, I will admit that I have not read up on the effect of too much iron, but considering I am probably getting double what is supposedly the maximum, I guess I should do some reading. I told my doctors about the iron supplements being required to keep me from getting badly lightheaded, but they just said my levels looked good and did not advise anything regarding the supplements. Once I get the 1.1 vanilla, I will stop the supplements and report back if it takes care of my issue or not. If not, I would suspect I need something in the supplement to help absorb it.

I kind of wish there was a version of Huel without anything that could be too much if a person consumes only Huel. Then we could mix them to have as much of the macros as we need, but avoid overdoing it on the rest. Maybe Huel needs to create a Macro Boost additive to blend with the fortified Huel for those that cannot tolerate some things in too high quantities, but want the healthy calories from Huel.

There’s actually a pretty vigorous community coming up with DIY meal-replacement recipes if you want to make something with less (or more) of something specific. Check out the Complete Foods website.