What Exactly Is Fulvic Acid?
Fulvic acid has been rising in online popularity as a health supplement, but what exactly is it? Fulvic acid is nothing new as it originated from Ayurvedic medicine, and has been used for thousands of years to support optimal health and especially surrounding digestive and immune health.
This compound is known as a humic substance and is a byproduct of decomposition naturally occurring in soil but it can also be extracted from compost, rock sediments, streams, lakes and ocean water, and even sewage (1).
As our soil has become increasingly depleted due to modern farming techniques many people have been using fulvic and humic acids as a dietary supplement to replenish the body with soil nutrients that are lacking in our food supply. Past generations may have benefited from fulvic and humic acids found naturally on their fruits and vegetables but unfortunately due to pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and industrialization, nowadays we don't receive the same benefits. Soil mineral depletion is a growing problem for the past several decades as declines in mineral content have been rising throughout the world affecting the nutrition of our food.
You may have heard of Shilajit before, which contains fulvic acid and is actually the primary active ingredient. Shiljait contains both fulvic and humic acid though fulvic acid is a much smaller molecule and possesses unique functions. This compound has been used in traditional cultures for centuries to promote longevity and optimal health by reducing inflammation, cellular damage, and oxidative stress in the body.
What Does Scientific Research Say About Fulvic Acid?
Scientific studies now prove that fulvic acid possesses many therapeutic properties to systemically support whole-body health and reduce health issues.
This compound is a powerful antioxidant, neuro-protective, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory agent shown to benefit immune health, gut health, and detoxification but also many more systems in the human body (2)
And the research backs it up. Fulvic acid has been shown to improve many types of chronic conditions including diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, insomnia, cancer, and even Alzheimer's Disease (3)(4)(5)(6).
How does it work?
This therapeutic agent works in several ways to provide the wide variety of health benefits spoken about in this article. Fulvic acid passes through the cell membrane wall allowing it to be properly absorbed into the body but it also improves the absorption rate of other nutrients such as minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, fatty acids, electrolytes, and vitamins. What else?
As a strong antioxidant, it helps to counteract free radical damage and oxidative stress in order to slow aging and reduce inflammation (7).
By acting as an ion transporter and natural chelator, it helps to rid cells of waste and provides detoxifying effects by breaking down toxins and binding to heavy metals to be eliminated from the body (8)(9)(10).
Fulvic acid can also stimulate the immune system to help improve defense systems and protect the body from harmful pathogens (11).
Research shows that it can positively shift the gut microbiome and improve digestive disorders by increasing favorable species and decreasing unfavorable species of bacteria in the digestive tract (12). This can help to improve digestive symptoms but also overall body health.
Wait, there's more? There sure is! Fulvic acid can help to optimize the body's ph levels by supplying alkalizing minerals to decrease acidity in the body and prevent illness and the overgrowth of opportunistic organisms.
What are the benefits?
Fulvic acid is well known for its many healing properties due to its anti-aging, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and gut supportive effects, to name but a few.
This organic compound has been associated with many potential benefits:
- anti-cancer effects
- gut supportive
- cognitive function
- mitochondrial health
- nutrient absorption
- skin health
- prevention of chronic disease
May reduce inflammation and boost immunity
Recent studies have shown that fulvic acid fights pathogens and decreases pro-inflammatory chemicals due to its potent antioxidant activity while also activating the immune defence systems to kill harmful bacteria, reduce free radical damage and maintain healthy immune function (13)(14).
May protect brain function
Fulvic acid shows promise as a natural treatment to not only support cognitive health but even protect against cognitive impairment and certain neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease due to its antioxidant levels and nutraceutical properties (15).
Fulvic acid is a natural chelator and cellular detoxifier, helping to rid the body of toxins and waste material. As it can pass through any cell easily it can work to remove unwanted substances that could be potentially harmful. Heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and other toxins can disrupt cell balance and the normal functioning of the body. Not only can fulvic acid help to deliver important nutrients into the cell it also works by taking the garbage out.
Other potential benefits
Nutrient deficiency is a common reason for health problems nowadays and fulvic acid can help to restore nutrient levels in the body by transporting nutrient rich trace minerals, electrolytes, fatty acids, silica, prebiotics, and probiotics into the cells. It can also help to enhance mineral levels by increasing nutrient absorption through the cell walls enhancing the absorption of minerals and other beneficial compounds such as amino acids, vitamins, and more.
Fulvic acid has a unique ability to carry 60x its weight in nutrients into the cells, helping to improve nutritional status, energy, and cognitive health, while reducing fatigue.
Fulvic acid is also well known and utilized for its benefits on digestive health. By providing prebiotics and probiotics it can shift the bacterial flora in the digestive tract quit rapidly, helping to enhance the health of our beneficial microbes and decrease opportunistic bacterial overgrowth. As an antioxidant it can help to fight inflammation in the digestive tract and improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria.
This organic acid also has a beneficial effect on our energy levels. As it works inside on a cellular level it can help to preserve cellular energy, improve oxygen levels in the cell, and restore trace minerals in the body.
Its ability to increase energy may also be linked to its effects on detoxification and inflammation, as well as increased nutrient uptake of alkalizing minerals and electrolytes required for energy production.
A clinical study done on animals found that shilajit, which contains fulvic acid, helped to preserve the function of mitochondria, the energy-producing organelle of cells (16).
Many people report improved sleep and energy levels with dietary supplementation of fulvic acid.
Are There Any Health Risks to Using Fulvic Acid?
Special Precautions and Warnings
Although generally recognized as safe, there still needs to be more research done on fulvic acid supplementation especially among populations such as pregnant women and conditions involving the immune system.
Though you should always follow the instructions on the bottle or from your health care provider, overdose should not be a concern as it contains all natural safe ingredients found in the soil and is easily flushed from the system.
As a supplement you can find fulvic acid in liquid form or solid form, though liquid supplement form seems to be the most effective as it can enter the cell more easily.
It is recommended to take this supplement with food and filtered water as it can potentially counteract contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides, and other bad substances that can be found in non organic foods.
Certain detoxification symptoms may arise for certain individuals such as nausea, headaches, fatigue, or digestive symptoms as toxins are being flushed out of the body but this typically happens with higher doses. If you are unsure of whether supplementation may be right for you or not always check with your doctor.
To avoid any potential unwanted side effects start with a small dose and incrementally increase as needed or directed by your health care provider.
As fulvic acid has been shown to stimulate the immune system there is speculation that it could potentially worsen certain conditions involved with the immune system such as an autoimmune disease. For this reason it is recommended to verify with your health care provider before supplementing with fulvic acid and to be closely monitored if taken.
About the Author
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.