I’d just like to start out by saying that I LOVE Huel and have gotten several of my friends hooked on it. I like the taste, and the ease, and that it’s a non-complicated vegan source of protein.
I have had it almost daily for several years and, in the beginning (for a brief period) combined it with a tea-spoon of ashwgandha… during these first couple of months, which also coincided with me moving to New York, my old childhood allergy flared up again and began causing rashes on my arms and legs… and I was then hospitalized and almost died from inexplicable (‘obscure, occult’) internal bleedings.
After 10 days at various hospitals in NYC with a billions tests, the doctors still had NO idea why I was bleeding. They couldn’t even find the bleeding, it was so obscure - but, as I wasn’t allowed to eat anything for a week (due to all the tests), the bleeding eventually stopped, and I was given 6 blood transfusions and sent home. I was very scared for a while that this would happen again and began looking for a reason.
Then I read that ashwagandga (which I’d only taken for a brief period in less than a prescribed dose as an Ayurvedic supplement) can have two side effects - one being gastrointestinal irritation, the other being boosting the immune system, potentially triggering allergies… I’d already stopped taking it, but could now FINALLY blame my near-death experience AND the fact that my chronic skin rashes had come back on SOMETHING which gave me much needed relief and peace of mind. I could start traveling again without feeling like I should probably not be too far away from a hospital and I could stop having mild panic attacks the day after eating beets
Fast forward 3 years later… I keep having Huel and keep having rashes that no dermatologist can explain (they just provide me with creams and stuff and say “sure, it could be a systemic food allergy but it’s like almost impossible to determine such an etiology so just put some steroid cream on it”) when finally I meet a woman at a bar who starts talking about her systemic allergy to nickel in food - and she mentions that she has all the same symptoms as me.
Lo and behold, I immediately start looking into what foods contain nickel, reduce my nickel intake, and ALL my symptoms completely disappear within a week.
During this, I discover that Huel (especially the chocolate flavored version that I have been having daily for years) has an OFF-THE-CHARTS nickel content (the top five ingredients (oats, pea protein, flaxseeds, brown rice and cocoa) are all top contenders of the ‘do not eat, ever’ list) and that nickel allergy also can cause all sorts of gastrointestinal complications.
My conclusion is that HUEL has likely been the culprit all along, most definitely for the skin rashes and likely even (in our out of conjunction with ashwaganda or something else) for the ‘obscure, occult internal bleeding’ that almost killed me.
Nickel allergy (in food) is, I’ve since found, quite a common condition. And a lot of people are sensitized to it without being outright allergic. However, it’s often misdiagnosed as it takes an elimination diet to verify, and because it’s mistakenly confused (even by dermatologists) with topical nickel allergy (allergy to touching objects with nickel in them). These two things are often not related and so just cause you wear cheap jewelry just fine, doesn’t mean you’re not sensitized to oral nickel consumption.
So… I’d like to just share this story so no one has to experience something similar and so that maybe Huel could consider making a low-nickel version one day, or placing a little note on their products, or at least somewhere online, regarding this. Statistically, although I might have been relatively severely affected, I doubt I’m the only person out there who has been nickel-sensitive/allergic while consuming Huel like a fiend without making a connection (after all, it took me 10 days in the hospital, 3 years of rashes, a bit of a neurotic personality AND a random encounter with a fellow Danish stranger at a bar in New York to make any connection).
So, even though I believe in your product, and love it, I obviously wish I’d never had it, won’t ever have it again, and I sincerely wish that there had been a product warning on the label (particularly in the cocoa powder flavored one) that stated: “Extremely high nickel content - may cause severe allergic symptoms in sensitized people”, or at least an “allergies and sensitivities” summary on your website. This would have helped me (and could potentially help others) a great deal!