Huel and MAOIs


I was recently prescribed the MAOI antidepressant phenelzine after having had little luck with various SSRIs, SNRIs and a tricyclic antidepressant, and have also been considering trying out Huel due to not really having the requisite energy to feed myself properly in a more conventional sense at the moment and because my weight is plummeting into the underweight category with alarming rapidity.

So naturally I wonder whether Huel contains much tyramine and whether it’s safe for someone on an MAOI. Having looked at the ingredients, I feel it’s probably not too dangerous, but I know very little about nutrition, and so I thought it best to seek clarification on this point before placing an order. Anyway, my question is do I risk some sort of dangerous hypertensive episode if I eat Huel while taking an MAOI?

I was a bit surprised not to see any topics about this when I searched, and I hope that I didn’t overlook a topic or part of the FAQ and waste your time with a redundant question. I’m very sorry if that should happen to be the case.

Thank you for reading.


I don’t know the answer but thought I’d say welcome and good luck.


I don’t know anything but thought I’d share what I found when I looked up “MAOI”. This is really interesting! wikipedia says,

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are class of drugs that … have a long history of use as medications prescribed for the treatment of depression. They are particularly effective in treating atypical depression.

Because of potentially lethal dietary and drug interactions, monoamine oxidase inhibitors have historically been reserved as a last line of treatment…

Patients taking MAOIs generally need to change their diets to limit or avoid foods and beverages containing tyramine. If large amounts of tyramine are consumed, they may suffer hypertensive crisis, which can be fatal. Examples of foods and beverages with potentially high levels of tyramine include animal liver and fermented substances, such as alcoholic beverages and aged cheeses…

So where is this tyramine stuff found? The article on tyramine lists a bunch of tasty, tasty foods that you can’t eat any more, but none of them sound like components of any meal replacement. Read the nutrition labels carefully, though.


Hello again.

Thank you for your replies, rtrt and fernly, and thanks for the welcome.

I thought I should reply once more for the benefit of anyone else who might want to know the answer to my question.

Having ordered some Huel, it doesn’t seem that it contains tyramine in dangerous amounts, since there’s a notable
lack of physical symptoms associated with hypertension when I consume it.

It’s typically very obvious when I’ve eaten high-tyramine foods on phenelzine because soon after doing so I develop an awful headache, one of the classic signs of high blood pressure. It’s often been the case in the past week that I’ve developed a headache after eating a certain food that I thought was fine only to discover upon a subsequent investigation that the food is high in tyramine or has a ‘forbidden ingredient’, so my body is clearly quite sensitive to the presence of this substance, although not, it would seem, to the most dangerous degree.

However, headaches have been notably absent when taking Huel, leading me to conclude that it’s probably safe for people on MAOIs, although I should reiterate that I know almost nothing about nutrition and it’s my understanding that individual sensitivity to tyramine varies, so what’s safe for one person might not necessarily be so for another.