Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What to Know About Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid?

Fulvic acid and humic acid are both popular dietary supplements, which purportedly have health-promoting effects on the human body. They're also both components of soil. The differences between the two, which are slight, have to do with the solutions in which they can and cannot dissolve.


Soil consists of many components, some of which are organic in nature and others of which aren't. Organic material is that which is or was part of a living organism, and it is essential to living organisms as a source of energy and molecular building blocks. Both humic acid and fulvic acid are organic molecules that occur in humus, which is compost. They help enhance soil's fertility and make it easier for plants to grow in the soil.


According to Dr. R. Baigorri and colleagues in a 2009 article published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," there is much similarity between fulvic and humic acid. Unlike many chemical compounds, in which a given chemical name denotes a single chemical structure, humic and fulvic acid are both mixtures of different but similar molecules. Both dissolve out of soil in basic solution, but when the solution is acidic, fulvic acid remains in solution while humic acid falls out of the solution.

Established Use

The established and traditional use for humic and fulvic acid is as a soil additive or conditioner. These acids increase the ability of soil to hold on to water. They enhance soil fertility and cause seeds to germinate faster and more fully. They also help maintain appropriate soil pH, which protects plants.

Supplement Use

In recent years, many supplement manufacturers have begun advertising supplements containing humic and fulvic acid. They claim that these molecules help bolster immune function, protect against metabolic diseases, prevent illness, and so forth. Scientific evidence to support these claims is lacking, however. Further, because the U.S. FDA doesn't regulate dietary supplements like humic and fulvic acid, there's no guarantee that these compounds are safe for internal use in humans.

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