Mild Headaches: Not Enough Salt?

I’ve been noticing that I often get mild headaches when I consume a lot of Huel, particularly if I have a 100% Huel day. I’m wondering whether this is caused by the low salt level in Huel. I’ve read that headaches can be a symptom of sodium deficiency. Also, I often find myself craving salt. I’ve taken to eating more crisps since I’ve been on Huel.

I know that for a lot of people the low salt level won’t be a problem, because a lot of people won’t consume 100% Huel, and the rest of what they eat will probably be quite high in salt. But for 100% Huel days maybe it is a problem? If Huel had a higher level of salt (but still within the safe limit) then it might naturally reduce my cravings for salt the rest of the time.

I seem remember the early versions of Soylent had the same problem. I used to read discussions on their forum a while back, even though I wasn’t able to buy it myself. If I remember correctly, many people got headaches which went away when they started adding extra salt themselves.

Might be an interesting experiment to add an extra half a teaspoon of salt when I make up a batch for a day…

Hi Marcus

What time are you getting your headaches? Are you sleeping well? Are you stressed in work or homelife? How many days per week are you on 100% Huel?

Salt cravings can be a conditioned thing as we’re used to diets high in salt - though in time this should subside.

How much are you drinking per day? Do you consume tea or coffee? What other beverages?

Do you have any health issues?

We are looking into the sodium issue

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Hi James,

Thank you for your reply.

It’s just a slight headache that gradually comes on as the day progresses.
I usually sleep well.
I’m not particularly stressed.
I typically have 100% Huel 1-2 days per week.
I drink quite a lot of water.
I don’t usually drink anything else. No caffeine or alcohol.
No particular health issues.

I do consume quite a lot of Huel. For example, it’s possible for me to have a “day’s worth” and still eat an evening meal. But I am almost 6ft tall and rather active.

I’m wondering whether it’s too much potassium? Huel’s certainly not short on Potassium.

The only other thing I can think of is that I’m in front of the computer screen a lot, but this doesn’t feel like eye strain. I take breaks from the computer, and the headache does seem like it’s linked to when I have a lot of Huel.

Anyway, I’ll experiment a bit and report back…

If you’re consuming other foods during the week, then you’ll be getting plenty of sodium (assuming you’re eating a range of other foods).

You’re active but, out of interest, what exercise do you do?

Hi @Marcus I know you are pretty on ball, but are you consuming enough calories?

@JamesCollier This time of year, most of my exercise is regular brisk walking. I deliberately park 15 minutes walk from work, get to walk up and down stairs a lot during the day, often go for a walk at lunch time, then sometimes an evening walk too. Then maybe I’ll do longer walks at weekends too. I also do some other exercise first thing in the morning, e.g. pressups and core strengthening, just to try to keep my upper body in shape too. In the summer I was doing some cycling too though.

@Julian I think I am consuming enough calories, but I will keep my eye on that side of things just to be sure. I think I have had a few days where I’ve had too many calories actually. Weight’s gone up by 2lbs when I weighed myself this morning. I’ve been experimenting a bit, and I’m just recalculating it all now to try and get it about right.

Cheers, Marcus. Doesn’t sound too strenuous and headache causing. Let us know if the headaches continue.

I’ve just remembered something else: at the beginning of the year I did a food intolerance test which revealed Sunflower Seed as a problem food. Could I possibly be reacting to the sunflower lecithin in Huel?

What sort of food intolerance test was it?

YorkTest FoodScan, testing for IgG antibody reactions.

I’m really sceptical to be honest. Unless something is causing a direct symptom, I wouldn’t pay too much attention.

I’ve been having 100% huel days, Monday to Friday for about two weeks now, & getting back into training again after a week or so off ill. The only addition I’ve made has been a couple of scoops of protein powder after a couple of gym sessions & mostly at weekend I had salmon (only lightly salted) & more huel & haven’t noticed any headaches so far.

I was concerned about the low sodium, but I noticed I’m drinking a bit less water (allowing for the water mixed with huel) than I used too, with no significant change in urine (besides the popcorn smell) so I assumed my body was balancing things out or something.

Hi all,

I’m on my third day of Huel-only and am suffering from a terrible headache that started in the first day and has gradually got worse until today.

I’m a runner and have done a couple of runs in this time, but tried to make up the calories in extra Huel. And I’ve been drinking the amount of water I usually would.

I’m just a bit concerned as this is effecting my ability to train (and I have a headache at work, which isn’t great!).

@Julian and @JamesCollier - do you have any advice?



Hi @Hannah_Stacey

What sort of diet were you having before? Was it very high carb, or low carb? Did you eat at regualr intervals? Did you eat quality food or rubbish?

Do you drink lots of fluid?

Did you drink tea/coffee before? Are you now?

Hey James!

Thanks for getting back to me. I’d say my diet before was pretty balanced - mid/low carb, fairly high protein. Eating 3 regular meals a day with a mid-afternoon snack. All pretty healthy (most of the time…!).

Perhaps I need to up my fluid intake. I’ve kept the same amount of coffee.


Hi again @Hannah_Stacey

Thanks for the info. Up your fluid and stick with it for a few more days; the headaches I’m sure will subside and you’ll feel great.

Keep us posted

I’ve just seen this thread, I’ve not gone 100% Huel, I’m about 80%. I had also been noticing headaches when on Huel, I had thought it was lack of sleep but I’m tracking my sleep now and it looks good. I’d been consuming as much water as before and my pee wasn’t showing the slightest hint of yellow.

I made the switch from sweetened to unsweetened huel and I thought they went away, but when they came back I tried upping my water intake despite being confident I wasn’t dehydrated and they seem to have gone away.

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Remember that when consuming mostly Huel you’ll need to intake more water. Solid foods provide a LOT of water to the body.

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As someone who suffers from coronary heart disease, low salt is important. It’s one of the benefits of Huel over other foods. It seems to me that salt can be added if someone wants more, but it can’t be taken out.

I thought it might be better to resurrect an old thread rather than start a new one on the same topic.

I just wanted to say, I’ve never managed to solve the headaches issue. I’ve tried various different meal drink products, and I’ve even tried making my own. I almost always get a headache. I just can’t seem to find a product (or develop a recipe of my own) that doesn’t give me at least a mild headache of some kind.

I also have an ongoing knee pain that I suspect may be related. That might be inflammation caused by a reaction too. I say this because I’ve been to physiotherapists, podiatrists and the doctor and they’ve never managed to solve it.

I can only conclude that I have multiple food intolerances. I am thinking of getting another blood test done like I’ve done before, just to see for sure what that says. I suspect I am reacting to the protein powders and also soy in other products I have tried.

It’s a great shame because I love the meal drink concept, I like the taste of Huel, and apart from the headaches I feel good when I drink these meal drinks.