In the beginning, the earth was blessed with rich, fertile soil and lush vegetation. The soil was teaming with microbes — bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, to name a few. In the perfect cycle of life, microbes in the soil break down dead plant material and create substances and nutrients that nourish plants. When humans eat these plants, we enjoy the nutrients that they provide.
The microbes in the soil make the hidden treasure called fulvic acid, the miracle of life. Fulvic acid is not a vitamin or a mineral and science cannot synthesize this substance in a laboratory. Our bodies require it for optimal health, but, we no longer get fulvic acid in adequate amounts from our food.
While the scientific research is growing in support of fulvic acid, there are less than 1,750 studies on PubMed.gov. One needs to dig around to find fulvic studies related to human benefits, but information and clinical evidence exists. This is not “just another supplement” but a powerful, life-giving substance that is quietly disappearing from our food and this is taking a toll on human health.
Fulvic acid has been reported to rejuvenate health and bring a multitude of benefits that are unmatched by any other natural substance.
Fulvic acid (FA) has been used for 3,000 years as Shilajit in Indian medicine.
Carrasco-Gallardo stated, “It is likely that the curative properties attributable to shilajit are provided by the significant levels of fulvic acids that shilajit contains, considering that fulvic acid is known by its strong antioxidant actions.” [v]
Historically, it was believed that fulvic acid/Shilajit had immune-modulating, antioxidant, diuretic, antihypertensive, and hypoglycemic benefits. [Winker][Trivadi] FA was used in diabetes, and to support the urinary, immune, digestive, cardiac, and nervous systems. [xxiv][i][ii][viii]
In Ayurveda literature it is called “rasayana” or rejuvenator, enhancing the quality of life. [xxxviii][xv]
Fulvic acids can be found in compost or peat, lignite (brown coal which gives inferior fulvic acid) or ancient humic deposits that come from deep within the earth. Unlike other deposits formed over time deep below the earth’s surface, like coal, oil and natural gas, humic deposits are safe, providing powerful compounds that provide an impressive number of benefits for plants, humans and animals.
- enhances the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals [xxxix]
- anti-inflammatory effects [iv][x][xiv][xxxvii][xxxiii]
- anti-allergy [xl]
- improves many aspects of eczema [xiv]
- speeds skin healing [xxix][xiv][xxxvii]
- enhances healing of wounds infected with drug-resistant pathogens [xliv][xlii]
- protects against free radical damage as an antioxidant [iv][xxxiv][xxv]
- anti-aging benefits [v]
- improves gut flora and gut health [xxxix]
- anti-diarrheal effects in animals and humans [xxvi]
- improves energy levels [xxiv]
- reduces oxidative stress [xxxix]
- useful in treatment of osteoarthritis patients [xix]
- shows antiviral activity, interfering with a virus’ ability to attach to a host cell, penetrate the host cell, and reproduce itself [xxii][xxviii]
- displays antimicrobial activity [xxxvi]
- displays antifungal activity [xiii][xxxii]
- effective for the management of oral biofilm infections [xxxiii]
- anti-aging effect on the skin, increasing fibroblast viability and reducing collagen degradation [xxi]
- neuroprotective, improves memory and brain function [v][ix][xvi]
- supports the immune system [xxxix]
- stimulates metabolism [vi]
- cleanses toxins and heavy metals from the body [xviii][vii][xxiii]
- shows immunomodulatory activity [xxxi]
- modulates homocysteine and pro-inflammatory mediators linked to atherosclerosis [xii]
- promotes ulcer healing [xv][xxxi][xli]
Science cannot create fulvic acid
Fulvic acid offers a seemingly endless spectrum of benefits for human and animal health that would make any pharmaceutical company nervous. Fulvic acid cannot be made by man because it involves photosynthesis and humification. The process that creates fulvic acid requires nature’s recyclers, microorganisms, working in fertile, rich soil over a long period of time. Microbes decompose organic material (manure, compost, decaying plant material), in the soil to create nutrients for the plant including trace minerals, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Microbes make the minerals in the soil into a useful form for plants and over time the microbes help create an amazing substance called humus (hyoo-muh s).
“Essentially, All Life Depends Upon The Soil … There Can Be No Life Without Soil And No Soil Without Life”
~ Charles E. Kellogg, head of the Soil Survey in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 37 years (1934-1971)
We never had to worry about getting enough fulvic acid, it simply existed in our soil and in our food, since time began. Fertile soil, and the microbial life within it, is a highly valuable natural resource that is critical for food security and for human health. Fertile soil is teaming with microbial life (it is interesting to note that there are more bacteria in two spoonfuls of rich, fertile soil than there are humans on planet earth). Sustainable farming practices that add compost and organic compounds to the soil help create a robust microbial community. Microbes are required for the cycle of life. They work to break down plant and animal matter, and over hundreds and thousands of years, fulvic acid is one of the end products of decomposition.
Common agricultural practices cause the loss of fulvic acid in food and the progressive deterioration of human health
Over the past 50 to 100 years, farming practices that sustained humans for thousands of years have drastically changed. Chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were created to increase crop yield, kill insects and control weeds. Modern agricultural practices increase the amount of food produced but the toll this has taken on soil microbes, plant nutrients and human and animal health is underappreciated.
While attempting to kill the pests and weeds and bolster plant production, the chemicals used in agriculture have inadvertently attacked friendly troops in the soil jungle.
The price of growing food this way is dramatically altering the natural recycling process required in nature, and the downstream effects on human health are mounting.
Fulvic acid may seem like “just another nutrient” that is declining in food, but it is actually the most important health-building compound because it is nature’s intended vehicle for transporting minerals and other nutrients into living cells.
Fulvic acid is nature’s answer to depleted food and too many toxins
Fulvic acid and humic acid are the key substances found in humus, the end result of the humification process where microbes in the soil break down once living matter, usually plants. It is believed that most of the health benefits attributed to Shilajit and humic substances are primarily due to the presence of fulvic acid. [v]
Fulvic acid is a very small molecule of low molecular weight. It is smaller than humic acid and penetrates the cell membrane and even the mitochondria. [v] Because fulvic acid bonds easily to nutrients like vitamins and minerals, it efficiently delivers nutrients where they are needed. Without fulvic acid our bodies’ ability to absorb nutrients (from food or supplementation) is diminished. [xxiv]
Fulvic acid’s small molecular weight coupled with the fact that it is water soluble at all pH levels, makes it superior for working in the body to:
- deliver nutrients
- bring antioxidant benefits
- remove cellular waste products and toxins [xliii]
“You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”
~Dr. Linus Pauling, awarded two Nobel Prizes
It is well known that minerals are required for a range of biochemical processes, but mineral deficiencies are epidemic. Our food lacks the vitamin and mineral content that it should have and most supplements do not absorb well enough to correct mineral deficiencies. The fulvic acid complex contains bioavailable minerals and trace elements that are desperately needed to combat widespread mineral deficiency in humans.
Fulvic acid is nature’s answer to the problem that man has created with over-farming and the production of processed foods.
Fulvic acid is a magical vehicle with 60 seats
The main components of fulvic acid are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These molecules in fulvic acid easily bond to other molecules and transport them through the body. It can possess over 70 trace elements, electrolytes, polyphenols, flavonoids, and essential amino acids.
Naturopathic physician, Dr. Daniel Nuzum, has been studying fulvic acid since 1998. He has used fulvic acid supplements with thousands of patients, and he researches and teaches extensively about fulvic acid. Very few doctors can make this claim, and have little to no experience with fulvic acid. Dr. Nuzum is an expert and he is able to communicate a difficult concept in a way that is easy to understand. “Fulvic acts like the FedEx truck and the garbage truck,” Dr. Nuzum explained. “It delivers nutrition into the cell and carries the trash (toxins & waste) out too!”
Fulvic acid has 60 receptor sites and because it is a carbon-based compound, it bonds easily to nutrients. Dr. Nuzum likens fulvic acid to a 60-passenger bus carrying nutrients in each of the 60 seats. The fulvic acid bus travels along to cells needing a nutrient package delivered. When it drops off the nutrient package, a seat is empty on the fulvic acid bus, so it picks up cellular waste and toxins, like the garbage man, and removes them from your system.
The missing puzzle piece
Many people are feeling the effects of low nutrient absorption, even in the presence of a good diet with regular intake of supplemental vitamins and minerals. This information about fulvic acid is the missing puzzle piece for many people seeking health. Whether you are fighting an infection, rebuilding health, or desire anti-aging strategies, add fulvic acid daily to help your body absorb and use needed nutrients. Take advantage of this powerful electrolyte and antioxidant.
Increase cellular voltage to increase health and energy
Fulvic acid has highly active carbon, hydrogen, molecular oxygen (available oxygen) and enables better electrolyte balance. It recharges cells allowing them to carry an electrical charge longer than normal and survive longer as a cell.
Your body must get enough electrons to keep cells at a healthy, healing voltage. While proper nutrition is a critical piece, it is not enough without voltage. This is where fulvic acid comes in to help. Fulvic acid brings molecular oxygen into the body, increasing the oxygen concentration.
CareyLyn Carter, biochemist and researcher said in an interview, “Fulvic acid molecules act like mini-batteries, going around and charging everything that it comes in contact with. It raises the voltage. When our cell’s membranes are fully charged, nutrients can get inside the cell more easily. When nutrients are inside cells they are available for biochemical processes that support our wellness.”
A closer look at fulvic acid for skin conditions, cancer and brain health
Fulvic acid improves skin conditions
Fulvic acid has anti-inflammatory properties.
A randomized, double blind, controlled study showed that fulvic acid significantly improves inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema with topical use, twice daily. It has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for skin infections, and would be useful for humans and animals. [xiv]
It was found that fulvic acid reduces the pH of the skin, relieves the itch and improves the appearance of the skin rash. [xiv] FA relieves inflammatory skin conditions. [xxxvii]
Fulvic acid has antimicrobial properties and is a safe and effective topical treatment for skin infections. [xxxvi] Previously studies were cited supporting the use of fulvic acid and humic substances for wounds, rashes and fungal infections.
Fulvic acid has anti-cancer actions
Fulvic acid and the humic compounds are potential cancer chemopreventive agents [xxvii] and have been shown to induce cancer cell apoptosis. [xx]
Fulvic acid and humic substances have actions that combat certain cancer risk factors:
- free radicals (fulvic acid acts as an antioxidant) [v][xliii][xxx]
- toxins and heavy metals (fulvic acid bonds to and removes toxins and heavy metals) [xviii][vii][xxiii]
- UV Radiation (fulvic acid is a photoprotective agent) [xxiv]
- diabetes (humic substances showed hypoglycemic effects in animal studies) [xxxv]
- inflammation (Winkler and Ghosh stated in a 2018 review study “there is substantial evidence to pursue FvA (fulvic acid) research in preventing chronic inflammatory diseases, including diabetes.”) [xxxix]
Huang showed that fulvic acid suppresses resistin. High levels of serum resistin are associated with several types of cancer and is thought to play a role in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) by initiating the adhesion of colorectal cancer cells to the endothelium. FA inhibits the adhesion of CRC activated by resistin.[xvii]
Fulvic acid is neuroprotective and gives brain benefits
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, published a study in 2011 that concluded, fulvic acid “has several nutraceutical properties with potential activity to protect cognitive impairment.” Researchers showed evidence that fulvic acid inhibited the formation of intracellular tangles of tau protein, seen in Alzheimer’s disease. [ix]
How to supplement with fulvic acid
Natural sources of fulvic acid
As discussed, conventional food production methods are destroying microbes in the soil, therefore it is imperative to eat the highest quality, organically grown food possible to increase the fulvic acid content and nutrient content of the food.
It is possible to get fulvic acid from plants, provided that they have been grown organically, in fertile soil, rich in humic substances. As you know from the earlier discussion on current agricultural practices, this is very difficult to find these days so most people benefit from taking fulvic acid as a supplement.
The best organic vegetables, in terms of fulvic acid, are the root vegetables like radishes, carrots and beets, but there is no way to know for sure that you are getting adequate fulvic acid from your diet.
Organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses from sugar cane
Another source of fulvic acid is organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses from sugar cane. This sweetener provides a good source of minerals and fulvic acid to aid in mineral absorption.
Fulvic acid supplementation
If you are taking any medication, please consult with your healthcare provider for contraindications. While fulvic acid is safe, there just are not enough studies on using fulvic acid with medication.
Take fulvic acid daily as part of your health rejuvenation regimen.
As fulvic acid supplements are being added to the market in a variety of forms, the consumer must be aware that not all fulvic acid supplements are equally safe. Fulvic acid is available in liquid preparations or powder supplements and capsules. It is believed that liquid forms are more bioavailable.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for a fulvic acid supplement:
- Source. It is important to know that the fulvic acid was not obtained from brown coal (lignite) or deposits from a source contaminated with heavy metals like aluminum, lead, mercury and arsenic. Look for a product sourced from high quality humic shale.
- Extraction. Look for fulvic acid extracted with pure, distilled water (not tap water) and no harsh solvents.
- Water. Tap water containing chlorine and fluoride must never mix with fulvic acid or any of nature’s nutrients as harmful compounds can form. Find out if your fulvic acid provider uses tap water in their supplement preparation.
- Potency. Will the supplier provide lab-verified data about their potency.
- Preservative-free, ideally.
- Glass packaging. Using any type of plastic in the extraction or bottling of fulvic acid is dangerous because the fulvic acid breaks plastic down. Plastic is a petroleum-based substance and will contaminate fulvic acid solutions.
Fulvic acid is a natural, water soluble substance that can be combined with liquids for oral consumption and it can be used topically. Follow directions from the manufacturer of the product you choose, and consider different options for use:
- Combine fulvic acid with other plant compounds, like spirulina in water, to enhance the benefits.
- Add fulvic acid to a smoothie or antioxidant superfood supplement drink.
- Take fulvic acid with herbs, medicinal mushrooms or essential oils suitable for internal consumption.
- Topically, use fulvic acid in a natural healing salve recipe including plant extracts known to support the skin’s healing.
Should you add fulvic acid to your daily health regimen?
The choice is yours. I believe that we need to supplement with fulvic acid now in order to harness the ability to get more nutrient absorption, increased detoxification, and increased electrical potential.
This may be the missing puzzle piece and help explain the dramatic increase in chronic disease that people of all ages are experiencing. The information on fulvic acid resonated with me the first time I began hearing about it. When that happens, I cannot keep silent – for who knows whether you and I have come to this information for such a time as this.
Originally published: 2019-11-06
Article updated: 2019-11-07
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Erin is a holistic nutrition educator and wellness coach, dedicated to helping others achieve optimal health, vitality and wellness. She is passionate about health and nutrition and a strong advocate for natural health. Learn more about her work here: GetBetterWellness.com
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