Fulvic acid is one of three parts that make up humic substance. Humic substance is the major organic material found in soil, coal, or aquatic environments. The components of humic substance can be separated by liquid-liquid extraction using fatty acids, linear alcohols, and mono-, di- and tri-hydroxy acids. Fulvic acid gets its name from the Latin fulvus, meaning yellow, describing its color. Along with other humic substances, it originates from decomposing plant materials. The acid has a variety of uses, including in agricultural soil and dietary supplementation.
Fulvic acid is used to stimulate agricultural soil and plant growth. It is also sometimes used for house plants and private gardens. Fulvic acid supports and improves soil structure, helping the soil to retain moisture, and supports aeration of the roots. This helps provide plants with essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and sulfur.
In addition to strengthening soil structure, this acid increases plant membrane permeability. This promotes photosynthesis as well as ventilation, meaning that more light is absorbed, which aides growth. The increased permeability also improves water absorption and transportation of nutrients.
Fulvic acid is used by some people for its medicinal value. According to legend, a Paiute Indian led an ill Utah rancher named Thomas Clark to a spring that the Paiute tribe believed held healing powers. After he drank from the spring, Clark was reportedly cured from his illness. He later discovered that the spring came from a deposit of minerals that turned out to be the remains of a prehistoric rain forest. This and a few similar mineral deposits are, to this day, a source of alternative healing benefits.
Aside from fulvic acid's supposed healing benefits, many people believe this supplement is essential in keeping the body healthy. Modern agricultural techniques, such as pesticides and genetically modified organisms, are believed to be responsible for stripping food of organic nutrients and minerals. Advocates argue that a diet consisting only of commercially, non-organically grown foods cannot properly sustain energy levels and health.
The major health benefits of fulvic acid as a nutritional supplement are increased immune system strength, appetite support, and super antioxidant benefits. People with suppressed appetite due to chemotherapy have reported that their appetites improved significantly after taking fulvic acid supplements. The antioxidants strengthen the immune system and can prevent or slow cellular degeneration, the effects of aging, and cancer.