Over the course of history, ancient plant matter decomposed and was subjected to a series of stressors such as temperature, pressure and other powerful geological processes. After roughly 80 million years of this, the end result is something called humic acid. While it may look like nothing more than a dark brown pile of soil to the untrained eye, it is one of the most beneficial nutritional supplements available. This long term geological transformation of plant matter into nutrients is actually more accurately described as humification, or the creation of humus. Humus is a classification of extremely fertile soil, so fertile in fact that it is often mined and sold in garden centers as a soil supplement.
Although humus typically makes up only a portion of a soil’s overall structure, the amount of humus will determine the nutrient value of the soil, and its moisture holding capacity. This directly influences the amount of nutrients found within vegetables, fruits and seaweeds. The more humus present, the healthier the soil (or water), and therefore the more nutritious the food grown in that environment.
But how do we, as humans, benefit from the humus content of soil, besides obviously more nutritious fruit and vegetables? Humic acid, an extract substance from humus, is now being used as a nutritional supplement, and has been found to have wide ranging health benefits for the mind and body.
What is Humic (and Fulvic) Acid Exactly?
Humic acid, despite the name, is not really an acid at all. It can be extremely alkaline, with some brands of supplements registering a pH of 10. It is one of the primary components of humus, peat and even some mountain streams and water sources. Although humic acid is not water soluble, an important subcomponent of it is: fulvic acid. Together, they incorporate a small but potent collection of acids and many trace minerals which are important for basic bodily functions.
Natural Powers of Humic Acid?
Humic acid, and fulvic acid by association, have many superpowers in the natural world. This includes being a very important soil supplement in agriculture. In modern industrial agricultural practices the nutrient content of soil has become grossly depleted, often to the extent that without chemicals and fertilizers it would no longer support any plant growth at all. While historically, many traditional farming practices encouraged crop rotation and fallow years to allow time for the soil to replenish itself, those practices are long gone. Soil is literally worked to death, and that is when using the naturally occurring humic acid soil supplements can help rejuvenate a formerly infertile field.
On top of this, scientists are eagerly exploring the capabilities of humic acids to counter toxins within the natural environment. Humic acid is able to remove harsh metals from the environment because it can bind to both positively and negatively charged ions. Whether it be in the soil, in the water or in our own bodies, this characteristic ensures that it will bind with toxic metals that build up over time in order to flush them out of the environment.
Amazing Health Benefits of Humic Acid
Like humus, both humic and fulvic acids are not just valuable for the external environment, they are also extremely important for internal human health. There are far more health benefits than the ones listed here, but this short powerful summary should hopefully inspire you to source humic and fulvic acids for incorporation into your supplements. Always source the highest quality available, and specifically humic acid that has been especially extracted for human consumption.
According to a 2002 review of humic acid research, titled Effects of Humic Acid on Animals and Humans, humic acid seems to inhibit the reproduction of common viruses. In particular, it seems to target rhinoviruses, which is responsible for the common cold. On top of this it prevents proliferation of herpes simplex 1 and 2, and influenza. Through ongoing research studies, soil extracts, including humic acid, prevent certain viruses from replicating themselves.
2. Detoxification Properties
Chelating refers to removing a substance from the bloodstream by way of a chemical compound. Fulvic acid chelates healthy trace minerals (ex: iron, copper, magnesium) and converts them into water soluble molecules that are absorbed more readily. On top of this, it also chelates toxic heavy metals that have accumulated in the body into a form that is difficult to absorb, eventually allowing them to be flushed from the body. With enough fulvic acid in its system, the body can safely remove harsh toxins, while also increasing absorption of important minerals.
3. Anti-Microbial Properties
In one interesting study which introduced humic acid to bovine milk, the researchers expected the mixture to show a dramatic increase in harmful microbial activity. Typically, an increase in the flora in milk is an indicator of oncoming infection of the area, called mastitis. However, when tested after being infected with humic acid, the cow milk showed the exact opposite reaction. There have been further studies which used humic acid supplements to treat both cows and goats with mastitis. Over time, it seems to easily reduce or entirely eliminate the painful symptoms.
An all-natural electrolyte, fulvic acid can rejuvenate and replenish formerly failing cells. It helps return cells to their natural and healthy electrical charge. This is thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body, while at the same time targeting free radical proliferation.