Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
Leaky gut – or increased intestinal permeability, as scientists call it – is a prevalent problem in my patients. Leaky gut refers to a damaged gut barrier. The gut barrier acts as a gatekeeper to allow nutrients into the bloodstream and to keep toxins, digestive waste, and undigested food particles out of circulation. When the gut barrier is damaged, harmful substances “leak” out into the blood circulation. This can cause symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome, including:
• Brain fog
• Joint discomfort
• Skin problems
• Food sensitivities
• Nutrient deficiencies
Many of the problems that cause leaky gut such as stress, pesticides, and eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods are all too common in today’s world. This is why I tell my patients with digestive problems about two helpful substances called humic acid and fulvic acid.
What Is Humic Acid?
Humic acid is made from humus, decaying plant matter that’s broken down by microbes. Those microbes in turn die and are also broken down to create humic acid. The creation of humic acid is the second greatest organic process on earth(photosynthesis being the first).1 People used to obtain a lot more humic acids from the soil. But modern farming processes deplete the soil of these beneficial acids.
Humic acid can make probiotic supplements for leaky gut even more effective. I’ll get to that in a minute. Meanwhile, let me introduce you to fulvic acid, another helpful digestive support supplement.
What Is Fulvic Acid?
Fulvic acid is a type of humic acid found in humus, so it’s made the same way – from microorganisms breaking down organic plant and animal matter in the soil. This leads to the production of millions of beneficial bacteria. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine has used fulvic acid for about 3,000years. 2
Humic and Fulvic Acid Benefits for Digestive Health
Humic acids, including fulvic acid, are gut-healing supplements that promote a healthy gut microbiota. Supplementation with humic acids boosts the level of beneficial bacteria in the colon. According to human research, this leads to an increase of more than 30% in the mean concentrations of the colonic microbiome.1 This can give a boost to probiotic supplements by supporting healthy levels of good bacteria.
A healthy gut microbiota leads to a strong gut barrier that protects against leaky gut. This improves occasional constipation and diarrhea and reduces the risk of food sensitivities, among other benefits.
Furthermore, fulvic acid improves the absorption of nutrients. It attracts electrolytes and trace minerals and helps the body transport nutrients to cells more easily. At the same time that fulvic acid improves nutrient absorption, it reduces the absorption of toxins. For example, animal research indicates fulvic acid can reduce the absorption of cadmium in the intestines,3.
Powerful Antioxidants and Cognitive Health Promoters, Too
Humic acids such as fulvic acid are powerful antioxidants. As such, they have a number of health benefits that stretch beyond the digestive tract. Fulvic acid may support a healthy immune system and block the release of proinflammatory mediators from cells.2 Scientists have also proposed that fulvic acid’s ability to modulate inflammation, act as an antioxidant, and modify the gut microbiota may support healthy blood sugar metabolism and beta cell function.2
Other research indicates that fulvic acid may be neuroprotective. It has blocked the buildup of tau fibrils by reducing their length and changing their shape.4 Tau fibrils are linked to cognitive decline during aging. Likewise, fulvic acid suppresses amyloid-beta,5 further indicating it may provide cognitive support.
Heal Your Gut While Supporting Immunity and Your Brain
Trace Minerals Research is now offering a fulvic acid supplement and a humic acid supplement. This formula was specially designed to support a healthy gut, reduce leaky gut, improve digestive health, and reduce occasional diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. These two soil-based organisms are an ideal addition to any digestive health protocol.
1. Swidsinski A, Dörffel Y,Loening-Baucke V, et al. Impact of humic acids on the colonic microbiome in healthy volunteers. World J Gastroenterol. 2017;23(5):885-890.
2. Winkler J, Ghosh S. Therapeutic Potential of Fulvic Acid in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases and Diabetes. J Diabetes Res. 2018;2018:5391014.
3. Glynn AW. Fulvic and humic acids decrease the absorption of cadmium in the rat intestine. Arch Toxicol. 1995;70(1):28-33.
4. Cornejo A, Jiménez JM, Caballero L, Melo F, Maccioni RB. Fulvic acid inhibits aggregation and promotes disassembly of tau fibrils associated with Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;27(1):143-153.
5. Verma S, Singh A, Mishra A. The effect of fulvic acid on pre-and post aggregation state of Aβ(17-42): molecular dynamics simulation studies. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013;1834(1):24-33.