Everything you want to know about fulvic acid.
Learn more about this pure, naturally occuring health supplement
Fulvic Acid is a natural ingredient that has been used in traditional medicine for many years. Taken daily, it recharges your cells through nutrient absorption, energising your body as well as supporting a healthy gut and immune system.
Find out more below.
What It Is & How It Works
What is Fulvic Acid & How Is It Made?
Fulvic Acid (FA) is a naturally-occurring organic acid and active component of Hummus; the sweet-smelling organic goodness that creates the fertile top layer of the soil.
It is generated through the action of millions of beneficial microbes in the soil as they break down organic plant matter. This dynamic process – known as humification – creates Humic substances including Fulvic Acid, Humic Acid, and Humin.
Fulvic is the smallest fraction, soluble in water under all pH conditions. It ranges in colour from light yellow to yellowish brown, and has a low molecular weight, high oxygen count, and low carbon content.
What Does It Do?
Fulvic Acid is best known for its ability to nourish plant life by dissolving and then converting inorganic materials – like iron – found within the soil into highly bio-available forms. It then transports these to plant cells, which allows plants to extract the maximum nourishment from the soil around them.
As highlighted in Rose et al. (2014), numerous studies have highlighted FA’s critical role in promoting and maintaining robust and healthy plants. It has been used by humans for several years directly and indirectly. There is a growing body of scientific research demonstrating FA’s huge potential for use in supporting human health.
Where Is it Found?
Fulvic Acid is found in Hummus, the fertile outer layer of the Earth’s crust, as well as other natural materials including rock sediments, coal, peat, and Shilajit. It is more abundant in and around aquatic areas, like lakes, streams, and other bodies of water.
What Is Its Composition & Chemical Structure?
Fulvic Acid is made up of aromatic and aliphatic portions, with a remarkably high number of functional groups that release hydrogen ions, becoming negatively charged. These negative sites attract positively charged ions which then join the FA.
Some ions may be more strongly attracted to Fulvic Acid than other ions (called differential affinity). These functional groups enable FA to behave as a polyelectrolyte, meaning that at any point in time a Fulvic molecule can contain a huge variety of different ions/minerals attached at several sites of the molecule.
The complex structure and large number of functional groups present in the molecule appears to be responsible for the various pharmacological activity displayed as it can easily penetrate living cells to deliver an ‘electrolyte charge‘.
How Is It Extracted?
Attempts by scientists to create synthetic Fulvic Acid within a controlled environment have proven ineffective, so the only way to obtain this organic substance is by extracting it from seams of peat and Shilajit within nature itself.
Various chemicals including Acid Phyrophosphate (J.E.Gregor H.K.J.Powell, 1987) and Alkali Dilute Sodium Hydroxide (S. Jayaganesh and V.K. Senthurpandian, 2010) are used to filter out other components from these seams including Humic Acids, micronutrients, and other impurities until all that is left is pure, natural Fulvic Acid.
In recent years, New Zealand – a landscape once blanketed in lush, fertile forest – has uncovered a new Fulvic seam. Located in the country’s South Island, it has remained untouched for millions of years, making it one of the purest the world has ever seen.
What Is Its Mineral Content?
Minerals are required for the diverse range of biochemical processes, including enzyme functions, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, acid-alkali balance, and structural support in the formation of bones, teeth and blood.
Naturally degraded organic matter contains a full spectrum of minerals and trace elements, essential for optimum function and health in the human body. Minerals that are part of the FA complex have greater solubility, enhanced bioavailability, and mobility in and out of the body.
FA is often rich in natural occurring minerals including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, sulphur, and manganese as well as small quantities of trace elements.
Are Humic & Fulvic Acid The Same Thing?
Humic and Fulvic Acid are both Humic substances, but there are a few key differences.
They both vary in colour, carbon and oxygen content, acidity, degree of polymerization, and molecular weight.
Yellow in colour, Fulvic is ‘Unbound’; it has no bound minerals or metals, making it extremely light and exceptional at carrying nutrients. The lighter, the purer.
FA has a small molecular size, ranging from 1,000 to 10,000. It is also soluble in water at all pH levels, and is more biologically active due to an oxygen count that is nearly twice that of Humic.
Dark brown in colour, Humic is ‘Bound’; metals and minerals are bound to its molecules, making them readily available to plants. The darker, the more minerals it’s carrying.
Humic Acid has a larger molecular size between 10,000 and 100,000. Unlike Fulvic Acid, it is also only soluble in alkaline solutions, and is unable to turn inorganic material into ionic minerals.
What About Folic Acid?
Folic Acid and Fulvic Acid both play a vital role in helping the human body maintain overall health and well-being. They also share the same initials. But that’s where the similarities end.
Folic Acid is not a Humic substance, it is Folate in its syntehtic form; a man-made B vitamin that helps to support and maintain new cells within the body, commonly found in health supplements as well as added to certain processed foods.
What Is Shilajit?
There is a popular, mineral-rich natural substance used in the traditional Indian system of medicine (Ayurveda), called Shilajit which is a compact, dark-brown gummy mass found mainly in the Himalayas.
It is formed over centuries by the gradual microbial decomposition of certain plants, with 10-70% of the water-soluble fraction being Humus (Mukherjee, 1992) including varying amounts of Fulvic and Humic Acid.
The major physiological action of Shilajit has been reported to be due to the presence of dibenzo-alpha pyrones along with Humic and Fulvic Acids (Ghosal, 1990).
It is still used extensively by physicians of indigenous systems of medicines in a variety of diseases.
Why We Need It
Why do we need it?
How can it help us?
As highlighted above, Fulvic was originally intended to be consumed through plants, vegetables, and other foods grown in the soil. But with much of the food grown today only containing between 20%-30% of the nutrition found in food eaten by our grandparents when they were children, our bodies are suffering as a result.
Fulvic Acid helps humans absorb nutrients the same way it helps plants; delivering the essential nutrients and minerals that we need, whilst helping cells to eliminate toxins and remove trace metals from our bodies.
Humans have actually been taking Fulvic as a traditional health supplement for hundreds of years across many cultures including Indian Ayurvbeda and Traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese call Fulvic the Golden Medicine!
These days, Fulvic is usually taken in the form of a tonic or drink; tasteless and completely water soluble in its purest form, it is often combined with mineral water, smoothies, or other cold drinks to deliver maximum benefit.
The Benefits Of Fulvic Acid
Fulvic Acid is a naturally occurring substance full of beneficial antioxidants, amino acids, and essential nutrients for our bodies. Supplementing your diet with a daily dose of Fulvic Acid can improve your body’s access to these vital nutrients and minerals.
In fact, there is sufficient literature supporting various beneficial aspects, including:
Energy, Athletic Recovery & Blood Oxygenation
As one of nature’s most powerful poly-electrolytes, Fulvic balances and energises biological properties within the body to supply cells with a super charged electrical current – awakening and energizing the cell.
By enhancing the supply of oxygen to soft tissue cells, muscles, and organs, Fulvic supports the oxygenation of blood which improves energy production, overall endurance, and improved exercise recovery.
Gut Health & Bioavailability
Fulvic’s unique bio-absorption properties aid the body’s access to vital nutrients and minerals; improve the ratio of good to bad gut bacteria, positively support digestion and weight loss, as well as bloating and constipation.
Metals, minerals, and other inorganic materials are dissolved and then transported by Fulvic around the body, significantly increasing the bioavailability of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients delivered to your cells.
This is because Fulvic Acid acts as a carrier molecule for active ingredients (low soluble and bio- available), which can enhance the intestinal absorption and penetration of blood brain barrier (Mirza et al., 2011).
Numerous drugs including Carbamazepine, Furosemide and Aspirin have displayed significantly improved solubility, stability, release profile and rat intestinal permeability when complexed with Fulvic Acid (Mirza et al., 2011; Agarwal et al., 2008; Anwer et al., 2010).
Anti-Allergenic & Immune Support
Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefit of FA in treating or preventing allergic diseases (Motojima, et al., 2009; Motojima et al., 2011; Yamada et al., 2007). It has been found to inhibit the histamine release and B-hexosaminidase release, at the antigen-antibody binding stage and antigen-receptor binding stage.
The rich source of trace minerals found within Fulvic helps to promote probiotics and prebiotics within the body, improving the uptake of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals which aid in the response to allergens, stress, colds, as well as general feelings of unwellness.
FA helps to stimulate the body’s natural defences with supplementation shown to cause strong humoral stimulation in rats (Vucskits et al., 2010).
Fulvic appears to support every stage of cellular rejuvenation, allowing minerals to regenerate within cells. This provides natural anti-wrinkle action for sun-damaged and ageing complexions by helping to prevent collagen degradation.
Rich in antioxidants and nutraceuticals, Fulvic removes harmful toxins and reduces the effects of cognitive disorders caused by free radicals to support healthy healthy brain function, mental alertness, and a calm state of mind.
FA can act as either an electron donor or receptor and scavenges a range of free radicals in a concentration-dependent fashion (Rodriguez et al., 2011; Ueda et al., 2004).
In the case of oxygenated free radicals, FA is proposed to interrupt the chain reaction and decreasing their concentration in vitro by scavenging or binding oxygen into its structure or scavenging other radicals which can transform to radicals (Wang et al., 1998).
Extensive research has demonstrated Fulvic’s Anti-inflammatory properties (Gandy et al., 2011; Sabi et al., 2012; van Rensburg et al., 2001). Such anti-inflammatory activity has been attributed largely to Fulvic’s ability to scavenge oxidants and inhibit the expression of inflammatory markers. It stabilises the mast cells in vitro.
Fulvic is rich in antioxidants and works as a detoxifier, binding to and clearing heavy metal and pollutants from the body. It also balances the body and reduces cellular damage by neutralising harmful free radicals.
Humic acids are beneficial for digestion and improving energy because of their detoxifying abilities. As a form of natural chelation therapy Humic Acids are capable of binding to and breaking down toxins and metals that enter the body through the food supply, water, prescription medications, household products and air pollution.
Humic acids form complexes with ions that are commonly found in the environment, creating tight Humic colloids binds that help with water filtering, agriculture processes and detoxification.
The presence of carboxylate and phenolates within Humic acids gives them the ability to act like natural chelators, which means they form chemical complexes that are important for regulating bioavailability of metal ions like iron, calcium, magnesium and copper within the human body and environment.
Studies have found that Humic Acids have ion-selective electrodes that can be used for attracting heavy metals — even for filtering soils and water because they help bind to things like copper and iron. Research shows they’re even effective at geochemical processing of soils and aquatic environments at much lower concentrations than other types of chemicals.
Fulvic Acid displays broad-spectrum antibacterial activity and has been found to be effective against Candida albicans (Sherry et al., 2012), oral bacteria associated with biofilm disease (Parker et al., 2014; Sherry et al., 2013) and a range of other bacterial species by acting on the cell wall (Fernandes et al., 2006).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Fulvic Acid Safe?
Few formal human toxicology studies have been carried out with Fulvic Acid. A Phase I Clinical Study undertaken using 3.8% CHD-FA found that no safety parameters were affected at a range of dosages (Gandy et al., 2012).
Toxicology studies undertaken on rats using FA at a range of dosages, have demonstrated their safety (Sabi et al., 2008; Snyman et al., 2002). No significant concerns were identified in all studies.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Fulvic Acid presents few, if any, side effects, though the detoxification process as FA removes harmful toxins from your body has been known to cause minor cramps, nausea, fatigue, headaches, or diarrhea.
How should I take fulvic acid?
Each person is different and requires different needs, and so will respond in a unique manner to the supplementation of fulvic acid.
As fulvic acid acts as a detoxifier, the amount you consume will affect the rate at which you detoxify. Taking less will slow the detoxification process down, while more will accelerate it. However, more is not always better as the body will only use what it needs and eliminate the rest.
For those who are sensitive, it is recommended to take 1 tsp in 1 quart of distilled water, this can be taken 1-2 times per day.
When Should I Take It?
Fulvic Acid can be enjoyed once-daily as a single serve in the morning or afternoon.
What Is The Recommended Dose?
For adults 20ml of FA per day to be taken as a supplement, or as directed by the healthcare professional. This quantity is conservative when compared to dosages administered in toxicity studies, and other Fulvic supplements in the market.
20ml is deemed sufficient given the source and final concentration, supplying essential minerals, removing toxins, as well as increasing the absorption of nutrients from the foods, liquids, and other supplements you already take.
What Does It Taste like?
Fulvic Acid is mostly flavourless in its purest form, which makes it ideal for adding to smoothies, juices, or other cold beverages.
Does It Interact With Any Drugs?
As mentioned earlier, minerals that interact with FA in a solution have increased bioavailability and are more easily assimilated in the body. Any drugs or supplements prescribed to a patient should be taken into consideration when determining whether Fulvic is suitable.
In any case, Fulvic should NOT be taken with medication.
Sources & Further Reading
Agarwal, SP, Anwer, MH and Aqil, M, 2008, Complexation of Furosemide with fulvic acid extracted from Shilajit: a novel approach, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 34, 506-511.
Anwer, MK, Jamil, S, Ahmad, M, Ansari, MN and Khan, TH, 2013, Inclusion complex of solid-state aspirin with fulvic acid: dissolution, permeability, stability and preliminary pharmacological studies, Journal of Biological Sciences, 13, 5, 302-312.
Beer A.M., H.E. Junginger, J. Lukanov and P. Sagorchev 2003, Evaluation of the permeation of peat substances through human skin in vitro. Int. J. Pharm. 253, 169-175.
Cornejo, A, Jimenez, JM, Caballero, L, Melo, F and Maccioni, RB, 2011, Fulvic acid inhibits aggregation and promotes disassembly of Tau Fibrils associated with Alzheimers disease, Journal of Alzheimers Disease, 27, 143-153.
FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), 2015, Status of the World’s Soil Resources.
Fernandes, AC, Pauw, E and van Rensburg, CEJ, 2006, An in vitro investigation of the antimicrobial activity of a novel carbohydrate derived fulvic acid, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
Gandy, JJ, Meeding, JP, Snyman, JR, van Rensburg, CEJ, 2010, Clinical efficacy of potassium humate in the treatment of allergic rhinitis: Double-blind placebo-controlled trial, Drug Development Research, 71, 358-363.
Gandy, JJ, Snyman, JR & van Rensburg, CEJ, 2011, Randomized, parallel-group, double-blind, controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of carbohydrate-derived fulvic acid in topical treatment of eczema, Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 4, 145-148.
Gandy, JJ, Meeding, JP, Snyman, JR and van Rensburg, CEJ, 2012, Phase I clinical study of the acute and subacute safety and proof-of-concept efficacy of carbohydrate-derived fulvic acid, Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications, 4, 7-11.
Ghosal, S, 1990. Chemistry of shilajit, an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic rasayan. Pure Applied Chemistry, 62, 1285-1288.
Grassi M, Lucchetta, MC, Rini, GB, and Raffa, S, 2003,Fangotherapy in chronic degenerative rheumatic diseases. Clin. Ter., 154(l), 45-8.
Huang, WS, Yang, JT, Lu, CC, Chang, SF, Chen, CN, Su, YP and Lee, KC, 2015, Fulvic acid attenuates resistin-induced adhesion of HCT-116 colorectal cancer cells to endothelial cells, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16, 12, 29370-29382.
Jayasooriya, RGPT, Dilshara, MG, Kang, CH, Lee, S, Choi, YH, Jeong, YK and Kim, GY, 2016, Fulvic acid promotes extracellular anti-cancer mediators from RAW 264.7 cells, causing to cancer cell death in vitro, International Immunopharmacology, 36, 241-248.
Madej, JA, Kuryszko, J and Garbulinski, T, 1993, Influence of Long-Term Administration of Tolpa Peat Preparation on Immune Reactivity in Mice. I.
Morphological Changes in Thymus, Acta. Pol. Pharm. 50, 397-404.
Mirza, MA, Ahmad, N, Agarwal, SP, Mahmood, D, Anwer, MK, Iqbal, Z, 2011, Comparative evaluation of humic substances in oral drug delivery. Results in Pharma Sciences, 1, 16-26. Motojima, H, Villareal, MO, Han, J and Isoda, H, 2011, Microarray analysis of immediate-type allergy in KU812 cells in response to fulvic acid, Cytotechnology, 63, 181-190.
Motojima, H, Yamada, P, Han, J, Ozaki, M, Shigemori, H and Isoda, H, 2009, Properties of fulvic acid extracted from excess sludge and its inhibiting effect on B-Hexosaminidase release, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem, 73, 10, 2210–2216.
Pant, K, Gupta, A, Gupta, P, Ashraf, A, Yadav, A and Venugopal, S, 2015, Anti-proliferative and anticancer properties of fulvic acid on hepatic cancer cells, Molecular and Cellular Biology, 5, 2, S2.
Parker, E, Gregory, RL, Windsor, LJ, Alavanja, B, The Effects of Fulvic Acid on Established Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Formation and Human Gingival Fibroblast Cells. Poster session presented at IUPUI Research Day 2014 April 11, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rodriguez, NC, Urrutia, EC, Gertrudis, BH, Chaverri, JP and Mejia, GB, 2011, Antioxidant activity of fulvic acid: A living matter-derived bioactive compound, Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, 9 3 & 4, 123-127.
Rose, MT, Patti, AF, Little, KR, Brown, AL, Jackson, WR and Cavagnaro, TR, 2014, A Meta-Analysis and Review of Plant-Growth Response to Humic Substances: Practical Implications for Agriculture, Advances in Agronomy, 124, 37-89.
Sabi, RA, 2008, An investigation into the topical and systematic safety and efficacy of a new carbohydrate derived fulvic acid (CHD-FA) product, Master’s Thesis, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pretoria
Sabi, R, Very, P and van Rensburg, CEJ, 2012, Carbohydrate-derived fulvic acid (CHD-FA) inhibits carrageenan-induced inflammation and enhances wound healing: Efficacy and toxicity study in rats, Drug Development Research, 73, 18-23.
Sherry, L, Jose, A, Murray, C, Williams, C, Jones, B, Millington, O, Bagg, J and Ramage, G, 2012, Carbohydrate derived fulvic acid: an in vitro investigation of a novel membrane active antiseptic agent against Candida albicans biofilms, Frontiers in Microbiology, 3, 116.
Sherry, L, Millhouse, E, Lappin, DF, Murray, C, Culshaw, S, Nile, CJ and Ramage, G, 2013, Investigating the biological properties of carbohydrate derived fulvic acid (CHD-FA) as a potential novel therapy for the management of oral biofilm infections, BMC Oral Health, 13, 47.
Snyman, JR, Dekker, J, Malfeld, SCK and van Rensburg, CEJ, 2002, Pilot study to evaluate the safety and therapeutic efficacy of topical oxifulvic acid in atopic volunteers, Drug Development Research, 57, 40-43.
Ueda, J, Ikota, N, Shinozuka, T and Yamaguchi, T, 2004, Reactive oxygen species scavenging ability of a new compound derived from weathered coal, SpectrochimicaActa Part A, 60, 2487-2492. Van Rensburg, CEJ, Malfeld, SCK and Dekker, J, 2001, Topical application of oxifulvic acid suppresses the cutaneous immune response in mice, Drug Development Research, 53, 29-32.
Vucskits, AV, Hullar, I, Bersenyi, A, Andrasofszky, E, Kulcsar, M and Szabo, J, 2010, Effect of fulvic and humic acids on performance, immune response and thyroid function in rats, Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 94, 721-728.
Wang, C, Liu, Y, Wang, Z and Peng, A, 1998, Inhibition effects of fulvic acids of different origins on the production of superoxide anion radical, Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, 66, 171-179.
Yamada, P, Isoda, H, Han, JK, Talorete, TPN, Yamaguchi, T and Abe, Y, 2007, Inhibitory effect of fulvic acid extracted from Canadian Sphagnum peat on chemical mediator release by RBL-2H3 and KU812 cells, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem, 71, 5, 1294-1305.
S. Jayaganesh and V.K. Senthurpandian, 2010. Extraction and Characterization of Humic and Fulvic Acids from Latosols under Tea Cultivation in South India. Asian Journal of Earth Sciences, 3: 130-135.
J.E.Gregor H.K.J.Powell, 1987. Effects of extraction procedures on fulvic acid properties. 3 – 12.