Too much iron in Soylent


Soylent contains 21.6 mg iron. This might be a problem for people with a defect in the HFE gene.

From Wikipedia:

As a Scandinavian man I’m interested to know if Soylent will lower it’s iron content or consider iron-reduced or iron-free versions in the future, just as in multi-vitamin/mineral pills for people over 50.

@rob @JulioMiles


well if you would remove iron from soy lent would that not result in a iron deficit? witch would be counterproductive to the whole idea of soylent


I would like a reduced or no-iron VERSION of Soylent. I suspect that 21.6 mg daily will trigger iron overload in people with the gene I mentioned. It’s common for people over 50 to be recommended a low iron intake, as the body stores iron very well and they have had a lifetime intake.


solution for you seems do do a DIY version, especially considering that this genetic disorter is only affecting les then 1% of scandinavia and Soylent corp will probably not do a special version until much later. but this seems quite unlikely.


it’s also quite common with an iron deficit in the world, and do you know the recommended daily intake of iron for HCC? and what the upper limit is


Gustav… the thing you are citing doesn’t mention how much iron is too much from the diet, also… do you know you have the gene problem or are you worried on others behalf?


Hi. The amount of iron which is too much for people with a defect in the HFE gene is definitely much lower than the normal safe limit of 45 mg per day. I don’t know if I have it myself, I ask on behalf of everybody who might be worried.


I’m wondering how much of this iron gets actually absorbed.
As iron from plants sources (like rice protein and oats) are not very well absorbed, and soylent also contains phytic acids, that lowers iron absorption.


I believe Gustav was referring to the point that worldwide, 0.6% of humans require a significantly reduced iron intake, with certain nationalities such as Scandinavians having significantly higher incidences. If 1 in every 100 people in an entire country need a reduced iron intake, Soylent would certainly not be an option for a reasonable chunk of customers, and that incident rate is higher than many allergies that Soylent already caters for - for instance, Coeliac (gluten intolerance) is roughly 1 in 200.

I believe the plan in future is to supply tailored versions, with adjustable calories separate to vitamin intake and the ability to reduce or eliminate certain vitamins or minerals for those with HHC and similar issues.

For now, I can tell you fairly certainly that no, you will not see any other complete versions of Soylent than the straight one-size-fits-all packet for the next year at least, especially since the entire vitamin/mineral blend undergoes an encapsulation process at the source and reaches the co-packer as a single indivisible powder before being blended with the other ingredients. Changing or removing the iron content would mean sourcing a completely new blend of the entire vitamin/mineral content, and since they’re still only trying to scale up production of a single product with only one source for nearly all the ingredients (which took quite a while to organise), that’s seriously unlikely to happen anytime soon.
But there’s hope, they are definitely working on plans to sell different blends for different diets - it just might be a while.

If we’re really lucky, they may start selling a DIY base - containing only the bulk such as the rice protein, oat flour and maltodextrin, leaving out ingredients that are incompatible with the largest number of various diets that Soylent doesn’t already cater for. That’d be fairly easy since it’d just be a case of an extra production line, omitting whatever ingredient/s and using different packaging - no need to source any new ingredients (which is the longest lead time). We could well see something like that in less than a year. In that case, it’d be something like Soylent official with no vitamin/mineral blend at all. Then it’d be up to you to source your own alternatives to the missing parts, such as a multi-vitamin pill with reduced iron if that’s the only thing missing, and you’re good to go. Far less hassle than trying to organise, source and measure a large number of various powders for your own DIY soylent completely from scratch, which would invariably be inferior to official Soylent. But they haven’t made any hints at such a possibility.

Either way you slice it, by the time Soylent is available in Europe, there will have been announcements as to what products/new blends they’ve been working on and when they will be ready for sale - Soylent without Vitamin/Mineral blend could well be produced alongside regular Soylent when European co-packers open from the very beginning, in which case you’ll be waiting no longer than the rest of us non-yanks. Still, would be nice to have some more details on what they’re working on now, though… Don’t really see how it could possibly hurt them letting us know week by week what different blends are in beta and how they are different and what they hope to do with them. Would certainly give us something to read and an impression of progress.


I thought about that. But Soylent contains 21.6 mg per day, and the vitamin C content raises the absorption of non-heme iron significantly. The RDA for men between 18-50 is 8 mg per day.


Hey that’s an idea - are there non-toxic, easily purchased materials that bind to iron and stop it being absorbed? Wonder if you could add something like that to your Soylent as a stop-gap till they’re ready to ship altered blends…

Follow up - Ah chelating agents. Hum seems like you would take a drug like deferoxamine rather than add something like EDTA to the food and it’d also likely bind the other trace metals you need. Seems a bit much to start taking a drug just to counteract the effects of too much iron in your diet simply so you can drink Soylent as soon as it comes out… Hammering in a nail with a tank.

I suppose there’s no simple way to remove only iron and nothing else from Soylent after it’s mixed, certainly not without destroying half the other ingredients.


The big difference between being gluten free to cater to half a percent who can’t digest it and being low iron to cater to half a percent who need it is that everyone else does need the iron, they don’t need the gluten. So, it would have to be a different blend, which will take a while before they can start experimenting with.


I feel like I should put in my two cents because I and the rest of my family (to a lesser degree than me, from what I can tell) have the opposite of this issue, a kind of chronic iron deficiency anemia. It’s supposed to be something temporary that can be fixed by changing your diet and all of us go out of our way to include iron in our diets because of it, but I still end up with low levels sometimes. My doctor said that my body just wasn’t storing it properly, but didn’t offer up a reason why. I’m not looking for a diagnosis or advice, I just wanted it noted that changing the main formula to remove most or all iron might make it a viable option to some customers with the problem you listed but would remove its viability for customers with my issue.

Also, @Carthaigh , in the realm of just regular old dietary interactions, calcium supplements can interfere with iron absorption. I don’t know if the impact would be significant enough to help with this issue, though.


Seems like DIY is the solution, at least until Soylent gets big enough to start doing custom blends. I’ve just started selling custom DIY to people, after I got a bunch of requests in this thread.

Let me know if you want any. :wink:


just curious…why does the Soylent formula contain over 21mg of iron when the RDA for men is 8mg a day? Especially if that is 21+mg a serving. Seems a little excessive. Most of the other vitamin components seem more in line with standard RDA. Wondering why not only an increase, but substantial increase for this element alone. Can be really uncomfortable consuming too much iron as it can make your heart race. I think I would rather run the risk of a little to little, than a little too much.


(The numbers I give are for males 18+ yrs old. Female requirements are higher and in the links posted here) The USDA upper limit for iron is 45mg/day. Soylent has 21.6 mg/day. The minimum requirement (what you need to stay alive) is 6mg/day. The USDA recommended intake is 8mg/day.


To clarify though, the USDA 8mg/day is for males 18+, 19-50 year old females are recommended 18mg which is what the nutrition labels are based off of (you can prove this by looking at its nutrition label that one serving is 40% DV, so 40*3=120%, 21.6/120%=18)

You would have to eat 2 days worth of soylent every day for a long period of time (USDA upper limits are for long term effects, acute iron poisoning occurs somewhere around 10mg/kg for a 150 lb male that would be almost 700 mg required) to come close to any chronic issues. Chances are, if you are on a 4000 calorie diet, your dietary needs are different then the “average person” that USDA recommendations are meant for.


Men, in general, have too much iron in their system. Women menstruate iron, so they need iron in their diet. I would prefer a Soylent formula with no iron.


Everyone needs iron in their diet, women just have a higher need. a soylent formula without crucial nutrients goes against the basic premise.


You can always supplement iron, but you can’t take it out. Also, men need less iron than women, regardless of any “special populations”.

I’ve noticed this myself, but I don’t know if it’s the iron or something else in the ingredients.

This was helpful, thanks.