Fulvic Acid – Miracle Molecule
Fulvic acid has been used in Chinese- and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. Yet, in the west, very little seems to be known about this miracle molecule. What is fulvic acid, what makes it so special and how can it benefit your health?
Fulvic acid is a compound that forms when organic material breaks down due to microbial metabolic processes or humification (composting). It is one of two classes of humic acids, organic compounds found in the earth’s soils, rock sediments, and bodies of water. Research done over several decades has shown how humic substances, including fulvic acid, can improve human gut health and therefore immune functions.
While we used to obtain higher amounts of humic acids naturally from the soil, modern farming methods have disturbed the natural ecological cycle to the extent that soil has become sterile and depleted of nutrients and artificial fertilisers are often used in an attempt to replenish the soil. Initially crop yields improve, but over time the soil is progressively stripped of essential trace elements that are not available in fertilisers. Crops that grow in depleted soil are similarly depleted of nutrients with the result that many people turn to supplements to boost their nutrient intake.
Considered the ultimate “nutrient booster,” we can benefit from fulvic acid when we take it as a supplement or acquire it naturally from coming into contact with more dirt/soil outdoors. As an active chemical compound, fulvic acid helps us absorb and use other nutrients better.
Because of its ability to make the body’s cells more permeable to nutrients while, at the same time, ridding it of toxins and heavy metals, fulvic acid has become popular for slowing down ageing, improving digestive health and protecting brain function. Due to its unique chemical structure, it is able to fight free radical damage that contributes to the process of ageing and nearly every chronic disease there is. Here are some other benefits of fulvic acid:
1. Improves Gut Health and Immune Function
It is common knowledge that gut health is central to building a healthy immune system. Fulvic acid and other humic acids contain a plethora of nutrients that improve gut health, including: trace minerals, electrolytes, fatty acids, silica (which boosts collagen synthesis), prebiotics and probiotics. These help nourish the digestive tract and also boost the ability of “good bacteria” to repopulate and form a healthy microbiome. A strong digestive system is needed to build immunity, help control hormone production, regulate appetite, reduce the stress response and much more.
For hundreds of years, an ancient remedy known as shilajit, which contains roughly 50 percent to 60 percent fulvic acid, has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide scope of health problems that can be traced back to poor digestive/immune health. A poorly working gut is where many chronic health conditions take shape, which is why leaky gut syndrome is so harmful. As a result of gut permeability (when particles are able to escape through the gut lining and enter the bloodstream where they shouldn’t normally be), inflammation is triggered and autoimmune reactions can occur. There is some evidence that consuming fulvic acid can help decrease digestive disorders and other issues, including: SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), inflammatory bowel disorders, bacterial infections (respiratory, urinary tract, etc.), or the flu and common colds.
2. Helps Boost Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
Acquiring enough electrolytes and other trace minerals is important for proper metabolic functions, digestive health and nutrient assimilation. Even in small doses the organisms we obtain from fulvic acid can cause fast and significant improvements in the ratio of bacteria living in the gut, helping to lower many unwanted digestive symptoms like constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and food sensitivities.
Besides providing raw nutrients, fulvic acid transports minerals and other nutrients to cells more effectively, boosts the absorption rate of nutrients by making cells more permeable, and fights inflammation within the digestive organs.
Another benefit of taking fulvic acid as a supplement is that it helps restore the body’s optimal pH level. By alkalising the body and preventing an overly acidic environment from forming, humic acids might be able to help prevent long-term illnesses from developing and improve defenses against harmful bacteria, fungus, yeast, and other organisms
3. Protects Cognitive Health
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that fulvic acid has several antioxidant, nutraceutical properties with potential to protect cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease.
A contributing factor to the development of cognitive disorders is free radical damage and also a type of protein called tau. Studies show that fulvic acid helps lower the length of tau fibrils and their morphology, disassembling their performance and stopping disease progression. Researchers concluded that fulvic acid is likely to provide new insights into the development of potential natural treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Helps the body to get rid of toxins
Fulvic acid is capable of binding to and breaking down toxins and metals that enter the body through food supply, water, prescription medication, household products and air pollution.
Within the environment, fulvic acid is found in, not only soil and rock, but also streams, lakes and ocean water. Humic acids form complexes with ions that are commonly found in the environment, creating tight humic colloid binds that help with water filtering, agricultural processes and detoxification The presence of carboxylate and phenolates within humic acids gives them the ability to act like natural chelators. This means that 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 soil and water, because they help bind to metals such as copper and iron.
5. Lowers Free Radical Damage and Inflammation
Free radicals play a role in fighting pathogens, supplying energy, and regulating hormones, but too many free radicals speed up the ageing process and result in disease formation. The combination of our exposure to environmental pollutants, low nutrient intake, and harmful activities like smoking, too much UV light, and eating processed foods has exacerbated the problem of free radical damage.
Fulvic acid contains antioxidants that counter the effects of free radicals and also help to detoxify the body of many toxins that contribute to the problem: chemicals used in agriculture, radioactive waste and heavy metals, for example.
6. Improves Energy Levels and Lowers Pain
According to research done by Doctors Across Borders, studies have found that, as natural and organic electrolytes, humic acids activate and energise nearly every biological process in the body. An electrolyte is soluble in water and works by conducting electrical currents, helping cells survive in the face of damage caused by factors like emotional stress, infection, unbalanced diet, prolonged loss of sleep, and surgical shocks.
This also makes fulvic acid is useful for lowering chronic nerve pain, headaches, joint pain caused by arthritis, or bone and muscle pains associated with ageing. There’s some evidence that the electrolytes in fulvic acid can help reduce swelling, decrease inflammation, soothe and relax muscles, and improve circulation. Conversely, an electrolyte imbalance can cause these symptoms to worsen.
7. Repairs and Protects the Skin
Some evidence suggests that humic acids can help protect the skin and treat wounds or irritations caused by eczema, bug bites, scrapes, rashes associated with fungus/microbes etc. A study published in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigative Dermatology found that fulvic acid supplementation significantly improved symptoms associated with eczema, even compared to other eczema treatments.
Historically, fulvic acid has been used as a rash remedy to help treat poison ivy, poison oak, viral infections, spider bites, and athlete’s foot. While this benefit is based more on anecdotal evidence than clinical studies, it makes sense considering fulvic acid improves circulation and immunity while lowering pain and susceptibility to infections.
Fulvic acid as a supplement
As a supplement made for human consumption, fulvic acid can be found in liquid form and also as a solid, mineral substance. Fulvic acid is easily able to pass through cellular membranes, allowing it to be properly absorbed and also boosting assimilation of other nutrients or supplements. In fact, it has benefits for plants, soil fertilisation and water/agriculture supplementation for the same reason – it improves the permeability of the membranes that absorb nutrients from the soil.
Fulvic acid consists of aromatic, organic polymers with many carboxyl groups that release hydrogen ions, resulting in an electric charge that helps attract free radicals, heavy metals and other toxins within the body, allowing it to act like a detoxification agent. Once it becomes reactive with metals, fulvic acid helps them become more soluble in water, which means they’re carried out of the body more easily.
As a major source of key electrolytes and antioxidants, fulvic acid helps to slow down ageing and control inflammation. It’s been shown to improve various cellular processes, muscle functions, digestive abilities, heart and brain health. Fulvic acid helps the cells to absorb the amount of minerals they need and discard waste by acting as an ion transporter. It also stimulates the immune system to help defend the body from viruses and infections.
Before you start taking fulvic acid
- When deciding on a fulvic acid it’s important that the source from which the fulvic acid is extracted is pure. Due to the widespread use of chemicals and pesticides, many sources of water and soil are contaminated and while it is possible to extract fulvic acid from these sources it is likely to be contaminated as well.
- Fulvic acids are small molecules that are yellow to yellow-brown (amber) in colour. Humic acids are much larger molecules and are grey to black in colour. The darker products are higher in carbon content and therefore lower in oxygen content. The darker products are also less able to balance pH and less soluble. Look out for products that are yellow-brown in colour when poured into a glass of water.
- There is some evince that fulvic acid is more bioavailable when taken in liquid form as opposed to solid or chunk form, which must be broken down by the digestive system before the nutrients can be utilized by the cells. When taken as a liquid, it seems to enter cells more easily.
- Fulvic acid can be taken with supplements to supercharge their abilities and improve bioavailability.
- If water is taken with or after fulvic acid it’s recommended that filtered or spring water (not tap water) is used as the chlorine in tap water interacts negatively with fulvic acid.
- Fulvic acid can also be consumed by eating organic produce since it’s used to naturally replenish minerals and other nutrients within the soil and is commonly present in natural fertilizers for growing organic crops.
- It’s a good idea to take fulvic acid around the time of eating since it counteracts and detoxifies contaminants such as pesticides and chemicals found in foods that are not organic. It can be take half an hour before eating or two hours after eating to improve detoxification.
- If using medication, fulvic acid should be taken two hours after or before the medication.
- Keep in mind that fulvic acid helps to detoxify the the body and can be quite potent in doing so. Fulvic acid detox symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, fatigue, nausea or headaches may therefore occur when first starting on fulvic acid. Symptoms should pass within the first few days but if they are particularly unpleasant the dosage taken can be lowered and gradually built up once symptoms have passed.