Autism, Anxiety, ADHD - Strange Huel Miracle

I guess this is probebly aimed at james@Huel.

I am formally diagnosed with High Functioning Autism (Aspergers), mild ADHD, Ultra ultra rapid mood cycling, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and related Anxiety and Depression. I have been able to have a successful career due to my resilient personality and medication which is Citalopram 10mg and Lamotrogine 200mg. My diagnosis and ongoing treatment plan is with one of the leading experts in the world in this specialist area at The Priory hospital. I have no other medical problems, have followed a reasonable diet although I suspect I had too much sugar, regularly take a multi vitamins and Omega 3 etc. For the last 2 years I have largely removed Gluten from my diet, this may have had a small effect in concentration and energy levels. Over the last year I have put on weigh reaching 21% body fat. My stats on 2nd January were 5.6F and 67Kg with 21% body fat. Until 3 years ago I was regular runner (distance and speed) although currently my level of fitness is relatively poor. I have low blood pressure (not unhealthy) and a healthy heart rate. I am 41 years old. Friend and collegues would be described me as a smart friendly and qwerky individual. I do not suffer from from known allergies or Asthma

New Year Goals
In order to reach a target weight of roughly 12% body fat and start running again I moved onto a 100% Huel diet on 2nd January 2017 with both powder and bars. I have allowed myself to have as much as I wanted without feeling hungry and this has settled at at a pretty low level of 150grams per day plus 2 bars. My energy levels, mood, motivation, concentration levels etc have improved significantly. To date my weight has reduced to 61Kg. and 16% body fat.

A long standing problem
For as long as I can remember (say ages 8 and above) I have suffered form severe and uncontrollable biting of the skin on my hands. This has left my hands looking disfigured and often bleeding. I have hated doing this and have been unable to stop despite trying many times. The problem has previously temporarily reduced significantly when starting a medication such as Citalopram.

A strange but amazing occurance
A couple of days after starting my 100% Huel diet the hand biting has stopped completely - for the first time in my life. As far as I am aware nothing else has changed in my life apart from 100% Huel diet. I thought I would seek opinion on here before discussing with my consultant (very expensive) at The Priory. I think my concentration may have improved although I can’t quantify this.

What the heck is going on?

I will be super grateful for a response an insight into this life changing situation.


Obsessive compulsive difficulties. I believe this is different to OCD
I have previously taken the following supplements with no noticeable effect:
Choline, Inositol, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, MultiVitamin, Magnesium, Omega 3 EPA/DHA. All have been at the high level of advisable maximum doses.
I have milk in tea and have experimented with Goats milk and Lactose Free Milk.
Lamotrogine has had a massive effect on stabilising mood and almost eliminating anxiety and depression.


I too know what it feels like to live in the world of miscommunication bad attention span and crippling depression. Similar problems. Citalopram helped me also but I just didn’t trust what it was doing to me neurologically on a daily basis. Anyway biting of skin and nails can indeed be partly due to nutritional deficiency. There are also some ingredients in Huel which I have used on their own to alleviate symptoms related to aspergers as well such as choline. All I know is that it is loaded with good stuff and I feel mentally and physically healthy when I am taking it, probably one of the few godsend products I have seen through my life. Got a bag in the mail yesterday after taking a 6 month break and after just 1 shake I feel utterly amazing this morning. It also eliminates the problem of going days without eating due to anxiety and racing mind. Makes me really happy to read these boards and see that it is helping all sorts of people with all sorts of different problems from all walks of life.


Just to add further information here.

Obsessive compulsive difficulties. I believe this is different to OCD

I have previously taken the following supplements with no noticeable effect:

Choline, Inositol, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, MultiVitamin, Magnesium, Omega 3 EPA/DHA. All have been at the high level of advisable maximum doses.

I have milk in tea and have experimented with Goats milk and Lactose Free Milk.

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I am also diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, but don’t have all the other things you mention, apart from the biting the skin on my hands.

I think Huel is great for people on the autistic spectrum. We tend to favour routines and can fall into the habit of eating the same things all the time. Did you ever see that film Adam, about a guy with Asperger Syndrome? He would have macaroni cheese for dinner every night of the week without fail.

It’s great to know I can be in a routine of always having Huel for breakfast, lunch and snacks, and know it’s healthier than eating something else all the time.

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Hi @livelife

I’m not well versed in nutrition and autism apart from the fact that I know too mush sugar is discouraged. It’s great that Huel has been a really postive experience for you, as to why this is, I don’t fully know although it may be that you’ve reduced your sugar intake, improved your routine and that your gut motility may be improved. Anxiety as well as poor nutriiton can affect gut motility so you will feel better if there’s an improvement there.

Do you need to see a consultant to explain the positive effects when they well now know?


That’s amazing.

Whilst I’m not qualified to say how Huel is doing what it is doing but from personal experience, concentration, energy, focus, drive, sense of well being all much improved for me with Huel (as well as loosing a ton of fat).

Better nutrition that what you’ve ingested previously? Vegan based? Easier on the body as a whole? Reducing subconscious food anxiety??

Whatever it is, I hope it continues with nothing but positivity.

All the best.

Hi james,

I dont think this is autism specific.

I see my consultant every 4 months and he has been trying to address the hand biting thing for ages so he needs to be in the loop and I think we need to get to the bottom of whats going on as I suspect it effects other things such as anxiety/depression levels which are currently being treated with medication.

For a long time I have suspected a nutritional deficiency/allergy or hormone imbalance as a cause of my issues although this has never been proven or heavily investigated.

I strongly suspect that this is allergy related although I can’t pin point anything. Possibly histamine…
In the past I have experienced a mouth rash which I think could be food related although I haven’t been able to pin point anything specific and it doesn’t seem to be within the “typical” allergy type foods. The easiest logical conclusion I could come to would be histamine.

On the negative side I now feel kinda hooked on Huel and nervous/even a bit scared to go back to a regular diet for fear of this horrible thing returning.

Thanks for your help…

Further thoughts?


I do find this interesting and I would be grateful if you would keep us updated and what your consultant says. If I have any further thoughts I will post here.

Hmmm. This is very very interesting. I had stopped biting my nails/finger skin for quite a while now, then a few weeks ago it flared up again really bad, then stopped again. Looking back, I probably stopped around the time I began consuming Huel and started again around the time I ran out (recent delivery didn’t arrive), and in the past few days I’ve been back on Huel again and the biting has stopped.

I wouldn’t have though to correlate that with Huel until reading this post. It may also be just coincidence. I originally just wrote it off as some weird stress related thing. My usual way to stop it is to paint my nails/finger tips with disgusting tasting anti-nail biting paint.

I have not been consuming 100% Huel though. Maybe ~60%.


When you guys say you’re biting your hands, is it the finger skin by the nail you’re referring to?

I dont bite my nails. Key areas are: by nails, sides and back of fingers and thumb, centre of hand, area where fingers join hand, bridge of skin between thumb and finger. Its a really odd phenomonen. Happy to send pics via email!

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Thanks for clarifying. And this has stopped recently while you’ve been consuming Huel?

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As per original post. I have battled with this for decades trying many potential solutions non of which had any significant impact. Within 2 days of starting on 100% Huel it stopped completely and 2.5 weeks in my hands have almost completely healed. More than happy to share the before and after pics. The before pics were taken about a year ago and are quite disturbing!


I have autism, ADHD, and extreme treatment-refractory major depressive disorder (it laughs in the face of ECT, TMS, and a cornocopia of candy-colored antidepressants, anxiolytics, antitictals, and antipsychotics). My autism expresses in the form of little social impairment (relative to other people with autism; I’ll never be charming), extreme avoidant tendencies in the face of stressors, and a basic inability to cope with the vagaries of adult life, coupled with an extreme intellect (even by the standards of autistic people) and an even more powerful expressiveness, a trait that dominates my wishes in life. I’m a writer, musician, poet, artist, etc. Most people who know me think I could be a millionaire selling books and records, if I could just got off my “lazy ass” and work.

It’s rare for me to maintain a decent diet, because I live on $735 a month, and you can get 2,800 calories out of a thing of Oreos that costs the same as a single bell pepper. Even supposing I had the money for real food, the sheer executive function required to plan meals evokes a complete mental meltdown, in which I experience the human equivalent of a BSOD. Imagine what happens when I have to sign paperwork.

When I manage to convince somebody to let me stay at their house for a few days, and they have decent rations, the transformation is immediate and radical—I feel energized, alive; free, focused—everything I ever needed to “succeed,” and to manage my life. It’s as if I’m a different person; rabid, fervid, electrified. I can deal with appointments and paperwork and phone calls (it’s nice to have a phone) and prescriptions and all the rest of it; I can exercise and try to better myself; I can study and read and write and live and learn, and sometimes, if I’m very lucky, I can even feel. Not much glimmers through the foggy veil of ice, of course, but a tear may stream down my cheek at the catharsis in a great film, and fill me with the blissful sense I am moving in the right direction.

Maybe it’s because I’m not sleeping in my station wagon (it’s long; you fold back the chairs and stuff some blankets to soften the floor and it’s not so terrible, if I curl up inside), but I think it’s the diet. Living at home never helped, and I lived there for almost two decades. Without my stomach gnarling in knots to enervate me, I can do things. I’m a writer—the last time I stayed at a friend’s house, I subsisted on nothing but tap water, bright bell peppers (and occasionally I’d acquiesce and eat a green one), and his home-grown hybrid heatless habaneros (all the flavor with a negligible Scoville index), and in that five days, I wrote 30,000 words of my novel. This after living in the car for four months and writing a total of 5,000 words over that period. Nobody makes any money off of their first novel, but I’d have a step in the right direction, and I might even be able to work, to have a real job, no matter the pissant pay, until I can find a way to make real money writing.

So, yes, it helps a little.

I’ve discovered that this is a fairly common phenomenon, reading reports via stolen wi-fi and discussing the phenomenon with other sufferers. I believe it relates to the vagus nerve (oh; the depression laughs in the face of VNS, too), which relates a lot of information between your digestive tract and your brain. Butterflies in your stomach, that sinking feeling of guilt or anxiety, etc. Oh, how I miss such minutiae … seven different high-powered medications anesthetize, sterilize, and emotionally euthanize me.

I’ve heard healthy eating can minimize tics, as well, which would relate to the hand biting. I haven’t noticed it, myself; perhaps it takes longer.

This is why I’ve been a bit of an ass with some of the Huel people about getting this shit in America; it could quite literally save my life—I’m diabetic, and my weight and blood sugar have steadily risen in the years since my descent into the hellscape of modern adulthood. At this rate, I’ll lose my eyes, hands, and feet before I’m forty. Huel extricates the executive function required to plan meals, and it costs a hell of a lot less than “real” health food. The prohibitive cost of shipping companies (and the unbearable difficulty of addressing the paperwork and planning involved) denies me any hope of getting some until it’s available in the U.S. directly.

I don’t want to live in my car forever. Eventually it’ll break down.


Interesting @b012. We are coming to the USA and we want to be there asap, things are in motion!

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This is a great thread, thank you all for sharing your stories.

I’ve held a personal belief that the body and the mind are so deeply interconnected as to effectively function as a single thing. in most cases. And I’ve struggled with mental health issues in the past(although not to anything close to the severity described here. I believe that mental health, like physical health, is something many of us simply run afoul of) and a part of my recovery was discovering new ways of life that don’t neglect my physical health.

It’s really powerful for me to read these stories of a lifestyle conducive to a healthier body contributing to a healthier mind.

Huel should really speak to some of these people from different walks in their next marketing campaign!

Grateful if james can give a couple of lines on this…

Is Huel powder and Huel bars suitable for a histamine intolerant diet?
Is the Huel bar less suitable for a histamine intolerant diet than the powder?

@b012 That was like a short story. You really could write a column for the Guardian newspaper. I hope you mange to get Huel and things continue to improve for you.

Hi @livelife both Huel powder and Huel Bars are suitable for those who are intolerant to histamine.

Hey! This is exactly the same with me. I have been biting my nails and cuticle skin since a toddler. I’m sure it’s a way of the body getting essential nutrients - zinc, calcium etc. However it would be fascinating to find out exactly what’s going on here biochemically for it to self-rectify with 100% Huel. I’m repetitively drawn to 100% Huel whenever I’m experiencing too much stress or an inbalance - manifesting itself in nailbiting. What are your views on this now @JamesCollier @livelife @ryanhellyer