The RDI of iron for men is listed as 8.7mg a day - almost half a single serving of Huel.
It also says:
Side effects of taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron include: constipation, feeling sick, vomiting, stomach pain. Very high doses of iron can be fatal.
Just 200g of Vanilla Huel has 27.8mg of iron, which is over THREE times the RDI for men of iron. A full 2000 calories worth has a massive 69.4mg - the equivalent to almost EIGHT day’s RDI for men.
Now, I’ve read these forums a fair bit and particularly in regards to iron content and read that the type of iron used is non-heme iron which is less absorbent then heme sources, and that absorption is further hampered by phytates and that the high iron content takes that into account.
As someone who already has high iron levels in my blood (due to liver issues), it is really important to me that I can be sure what I am consuming is safe for me and that I am not likely to be absorbing excessive iron.
Perhaps @JamesCollier can answer - do you have an approximate figure how much iron from Huel is typically absorbed by the body, perhaps as a percentage? E.g. if I consume 100g of Huel (containing 13.9mg of iron), how much of that will likely be absorbed?
Is 300g/400g+ of Huel per day safe to consume for someone with already high iron levels over a long period of time?
I’ve been doing a bit of reading on this myself and although I’m not yet satisfied I understand enough my takeaway is that…
The body has no option other than the absorb 10-30% of heme iron intake. Any excess that is absorbed is stored and can potentially lead to problems down the line.
The body can regulate non-heme iron and will adjust the release of an enzyme to moderate non-heme iron absorption. It will take it what it needs and the rest will be flushed out of the body and so excess intake doesn’t present a problem.
HOWEVER, that’s just what I have determined through scouring the web the last couple of days so I wouldn’t take that as an informed opinion ( I was considering having 2500-3000 calories worth of Huel and day and was concerned about excess micronutrients).
Edit: From what I’ve also read the daily intake for vegetarians and vegans (who are likely to be consuming non-heme iron) is suggested to be about 1.8 times higher than the recommended amount.
While those doing alot of exercise may also need as much as 30% more than the recommended amount.
This is a very valid question and one that has come up a few times before. I am working on a comprehensive article on the whole issue; this has been delayed due to me waiting on data (hope this month).
Your concern is valid, but don’t underestimate the effect of phytic acid which drastically reduces iron bioavailability. The vitamin C in Huel will counteract this a lot, however. The actual approx. figures is really hard to quantify. Also, the amount of iron in Huel is likely to vary as ingredient sources vary - all the iron in Huel is naturally occurring from the main ingredients.
2,000 calories of Huel per day is safe for the vast majority; however, people with high blood iron levels may wish to be cautious.
@Widge is also correct that non-haem iron absorption can partially be regulated