Fulvic acid might seem new to the nutritional world, but in reality, it’s very, very old—in fact, it’s as old as plants and soil. When soil-based microbes break down decaying organic matter, they produce fulvic acid, which is the reason why compost is such a great fertilizer. Think of fulvic acid like a matrix, suspending all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, and useful compounds originally found in the decomposing plant so that they’re far more bioavailable to other budding plants growing in the same soil.

Fulvic Acid Boosts Nutrient Absorption

What fulvic acid does in the soil, it can also do for the human body, at least in theory. There aren’t a lot of human studies that back this up yet, but this study demonstrates that fulvic acid does increase absorption of medications. It stands to reason that, since that’s its purpose in soil, it likely does the same for other ions and compounds in humans as well.

Fulvic Acid as an Antioxidant

In plants, fulvic acid behaves as a fantastic antioxidant, playing both sides of the fence: it can both donate and accept a negatively-charged electron, depending on what the situation calls for.

This study shows that it does have this effect in humans, and specifically that it may stop disease progression of Alzheimer’s.

Fulvic Acid for Detoxification

Because fulvic acid functions as a binding and delivery matrix, it also helps to bind and filter out heavy metals (which are ions, just like other minerals). This feature has been used very effectively to process and filter water and soil–so again, we’d assume it would have a similar effect in humans.

Fulvic Acid as an Anti-inflammatory

There actually are a couple of human studies that demonstrate fulvic acid’s anti-inflammatory capabilities.

This study shows that it blocks the second messenger from homocysteine (a breakdown product of the methylation cycle, and also inflammatory in its own right).

This study suggests that fulvic acid shows promise in preventing inflammatory diseases, can help modulate the immune system, and improve digestive function.

Where You Get Fulvic Acid

Once upon a time, everybody got their daily dose of fulvic acid by eating their fruits and vegetables. These days, due to the way non-organic food is grown, there’s very little fulvic acid to be found in commercially grown plants. This is another great reason to buy organic when it’s available and affordable.

Another ancient form of fulvic acid is from shilajit, an Ayurvedic supplement shown to have a myriad of health benefits. Because fulvic acid is essentially a delivery matrix, supplements of fulvic acid contain a large number of trace minerals as well.

You can also purchase pure fulvic acid. Given its potential detoxification properties, it’s a good idea to start at a low dose and work your way up to the recommended dose if you go the supplement route, as there are some anecdotal reports that some people can get a detox reaction from it at high doses.