Fulvic acid – what is it and what are its benefits?
Fulvic acid – what is it and what are its benefits?
The Benefits of fulvic acid are far reaching when supplementing with fulvic acid in Australia and worldwide is becoming more popular as we start to understand more about its wide range of health benefits, including improving our use of antioxidants and electrolytes, slowing down aging, improving digestive health and protecting brain function.
Supplementing with fulvic acid, a naturally occurring compound found in soils, compost, marine sediments and sewage, can help to replenish what is being lost in our diets and lifestyles due to modern farming techniques.
What exactly is fulvic acid?
Fulvic acid (FvA) is one component of humus. Humus is composed of organic compounds found in soils, rock and water.
Fulvic acid is formed when microbes in the soil break down old plant material. It is naturally found around many water-based areas, including lakes, streams, soils and coal. It is formed through geochemical and biological reactions, such as the breakdown of food in a compost heap.
Our soil has been largely depleted of nutrients from the industrialisation of agriculture. Monocropping, over farming and widespread use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers have stripped the soil of essential minerals and nutrients that we could otherwise receive through a balanced diet. 
Fulvic acid can be extracted from compost, soil and other substances to be processed into a supplement with over trace minerals to bring back balance to the body and improve overall health.
What is fulvic acid made up of?
Fulvic acid and other humic acids are yellow-brown substances found in natural materials including:
- trace minerals
- fatty acids
- silica (which boosts collagen synthesis)
Fulvic minerals have been shown to contain multiple active functional groups, including phenolic hydroxyl, ketone carbonyl, quinone carbonyl, carboxyl and alkoxyl groups.
Its structure is made up 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. This allows it to act like a detoxification agent. 
Fulvic acid and shilajit
Both fulvic acid and shilajit, also known as mineral pitch, mumie, mumijo, and vegetable asphalt, are used as supplements, with shilajit containing high levels of fulvic acid. It also contains small amounts of minerals and metabolites derived from fungi.
Shilajit has been long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat many health conditions, mostly those related to gut health and immunity. Fulvic acid is believed to be responsible for many of shilajit’s medicinal properties.
While fulvic acid is yellow, shilajit is a blackish-brown powder or fluid and is sourced from the Himalayas and other mountain ranges around the world.
Benefits of fulvic acid
Research demonstrates that fulvic acid can be beneficial for a range of conditions and helpful in boosting overall health. 
Benefits of fulvic acid occur when minerals and trace elements from food come into contact with fulvic acid, they are dissolved into a form that makes them more active and more available to the body. These minerals fuse with fulvic acid and because of its small molecular size, it has the ability to take these nutrients directly to all the cells of our bodies. Fulvic acid also makes the cells more permeable and receptive to these nutrients. 
Fulvic acid is full of many types of minerals and nutrients. It’s bioavailable, so your body easily recognises and absorbs it.
Fulvic acid has been used in studies to aid in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including digestive disorders, bronchitis, oedema, haemorrhoids, jaundice, and genitourinary disorders.
Studies have shown some of fulvic acid’s benefits include:
- enhances the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals
- anti-inflammatory effects
- improves many aspects of eczema
- speeds skin healing
- enhances healing of wounds infected with drug-resistant pathogens
- protects against free radical damage as an antioxidant
- anti-aging benefits
- improves gut flora and gut health
- anti-diarrheal effects in animals and humans
- improves energy levels
- reduces oxidative stress
- useful in treatment of osteoarthritis patients
- shows antiviral activity, interfering with a virus’ ability to attach to a host cell, penetrate the host cell, and reproduce itself
- displays antimicrobial activity
- displays antifungal activity
- effective for the management of oral biofilm infections
- anti-aging effect on the skin, increasing fibroblast viability and reducing collagen degradation
- neuroprotective, improves memory and brain function
- supports the immune system
- stimulates metabolism
- cleanses toxins and heavy metals from the body
- shows immunomodulatory activity
- modulates homocysteine and pro-inflammatory mediators linked to atherosclerosis
- promotes ulcer healing 
Although more research needs to be conducted on some of the above benefits of fulvic acid, there have been studies that have demonstrated its benefits more conclusively in the following:
Reduces inflammation, detoxifies and boosts immunity
Fulvic acid benefits can have a profoundly positive effect on inflammation and immune health. There is a significant body of research that suggests it boosts your defences against illness, improve disease resistance, improve antioxidant activity and fight inflammation.
Because fulvic acid functions as a binding and delivery matrix, it helps to bind and filter out heavy metals (which are ions, just like other minerals).  Fulvic acid can fight pathogens with the soil-based acid that increases levels of antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress on cells, boosting your immune function.
Enhances gut health
Shilajit has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve gut health.
Fulvic acid can provide vital nutrients and enzymes important for optimal gut function, positively affecting gut bacteria and enhancing nutrient absorption. By providing a microbiome that is rich in prebiotics and probiotics, fulvic acid can decrease symptoms of digestive issues and promote a healthy gut.
There is some evidence that consuming fulvic acid can help decrease digestive disorders and, including SIBO symptoms (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and inflammatory bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. 
Protects brain function
Some research suggests that fulvic acid may help to prevent brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease. A study concluded that fulvic acid is protective of cognitive function and was promising in aiding the prevention of numerous neurodegenerative disorders. 
Fulvic acid can assist in removing parasitic, fungal and bacterial infections that may be resistant to other treatments. If pathogens are causing symptoms, such as digestive issues, cramping, itching or rashes, fulvic acid can be a beneficial addition to your cleansing protocol.
Helps to reduce pain
Many researchers have used fulvic acid with high success rates in pain-management. One hospital reported a nearly 95% success rate when treating corneal ulcers with fulvic acid injections and drops. Another hospital found fulvic acid to be beneficial with pain related to ulcerative colon infections, gastrointestinal bleeding, and haemorrhoids. Another hospital discovered that it not only helped elderly patients with their age-related aches and pains, but also stimulated their appetites, improved sleep, and raised energy. 
As fulvic acid improves the absorption of essential nutrients and minerals, it can boost your energy levels during the day and give you a good night’s sleep.
May help lower cholesterol
Some studies suggest fulvic acid decreases bad cholesterol and may even raise good cholesterol levels.
May relieve altitude sickness
Shilajit has been used for centuries to treat altitude sickness. Fulvic acid may help treat this condition by enhancing immune response, stimulating energy production, and improving oxygen levels. 
May boost cellular function
Some research suggests that shilajit may protect our mitochondria, membrane-bound cell organelles (mitochondrion, singular) that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions.
How to take fulvic acid
Fulvic acid cannot be made synthetically because it involves photosynthesis and humification.
It is possible to get fulvic acid from organically grown plants, as long as they have been grown in fertile soil, rich in humic substances. Organic vegetables best for amounts of fulvic acid are root vegetables like radishes, carrots and beetroot. Another source of fulvic acid is organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses from sugar cane.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how much fulvic acid you are getting so most people benefit more from taking fulvic acid as a supplement.
It is typically produced in capsule form, combined with other minerals such as magnesium and amino acids. You may also take it as a liquid although fulvic acid doesn’t taste all that great on its own so many people mix powdered fulvic acid into juices or smoothies so that it’s easier to drink.
If you are thinking about taking fulvic acid as a supplement, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider for safety. When choosing a supplement, check where it has been sourced and ensure it has been extracted with distilled water, not tap water. You should also check that it contains enough active ingredients and is preservative-free.
How we can help
At Advanced Functional Medicine, our functional medicine practitioners have expertise and knowledge of a wide range of supplements and natural medicines. We can determine which supplements will bring you most benefit.
Generations ago, our ancestors may have been able to receive fulvic and humic acid from the plants they consumed, but that is no longer the case. Fulvic acid can help us to replenish what is depleted from our bodies.
It offers numerous benefits, including reduced inflammation, stronger immunity, and improved brain function. It can treat numerous conditions and boost overall health. If you’re interested in trying fulvic acid, we can support you to determine if it’s the right supplement for you to reach your health goals.