Most people know ensuring an adequate intake of Omega 3 is good for you. But like many nutrients, too much may not be good. Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have recommended upper limits for the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids. The former say up to 3000 mg per day is safe and the latter up to 5000 mg per day. A key reason for the recommendations is that high intake of Omega-3 causes blood thinning, can cause bleeding and is associated with higher risk of associated serious conditions.
The apparent problem in the context of the above recommendations is that Huel powder contains 3400 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids in just one 100g portion - 17g of Omega-3 in 2000 Calories - but it is a different form of Omega-3 (ALA) found in plants. After being initially concerned, I now see that only up to 10% of ALA is converted to DHA and up to 5% to EPA. This removes any risk of reaching the maximum amounts of DHA and EPA recommended by the FDA and the EFSA.
The concerns and limits (as mentioned in the articles you linked to) related to supplements that contain EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
As the omega-3 fatty acid in Huel is ALA and from the naturally occurring ingredients rather than a supplement, this isn’t an issue. We also explain this in our article: Guide to EPA and DHA in Huel
To be honest I’m not sure how helpful this post is considering you answer your own concerns by the end. What were you aiming to achieve by posting this?
Well, when I started to write it, I was concerned that there was a risk of consuming too much Omega-3, simply because the nutritional information for the product states that 100g contains 3.4g of Omega-3 without distinguishing it as ALA. You are correct that by the time I finished drafting it, I had answered my own question by realised from other information that (1) the Omega-3 was ALA, and that (2) this has a quite low conversion rate to the DHA and EPA forms that are of concern both for sufficiency and excess. While that dealt with my concern, I am sure you would agree that merely because something comes from natural ingredients does not mean it can’t contain quantities of nutrients that are not ideal if consumed in large quantities! It’s a tricky job for your experts because of your ambitious objectives.
I would hope my post would help someone else asking the same question, but would also welcome additional scientific input from others.
[I would suggest a reference to ALA in the nutritional information on the product page]
Totally, thanks for explaining! I wanted to understand if there was anything we could do to ease those concerns directly through our website so thanks for the advice