What is the Difference Between Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid?

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  • Written By: S.M. Webster
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2020
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Humic acid and fulvic acid are two of the three ingredients that make up humic substances in soil's organic matter. Humic acid is only soluble in water at certain pH levels, while fulvic acid is soluble in water at all pH levels. The third ingredient, humins, is alkaline and not soluble at any pH level.

Humic acids are the major extractable elements of the humic substances that, along with non-humic substances, make up soil organic matter. They are black or dark brown in color and the result of secondary synthesis reactions. They are also considered to be of high molecular weight. The level of humic acid in soil affects the fertility of the soil, because it controls the water-holding capacity. The more humic acid, the better the soil retains moisture and the better plants grow.

Fulvic acid remains in the solution after the process of acidification removes humic acid from the soil. The color ranges from light yellow to yellowish brown and it is of lower molecular weight. It is also the byproduct of decaying microorganisms in the soil. Some scientists believe fulvic acid can chelate toxins and render them harmless.


Both humic acid and fulvic acid may have the ability to help cleanse the human body of any heavy metals to which it has been exposed, either by ingestion via food and water or by absorption through the skin. While the body requires certain amounts of trace minerals to function properly, high levels of metals can be harmful. Taking nutritional supplements that contain fulvic acid and humic acid may help purge the body of toxic metals and excess iron, because both have the ability to bond with the positively charged ions caused by the dissolving minerals. The toxins are then excreted from the body in the form of urine or feces.

While commonly used for agricultural purposes as an accompaniment to fertilizer, the FDA has not yet approved humic acid and fulvic acid as dietary supplements for humans. When selecting supplements containing these substances, make sure your choice is food grade and made for human consumption. As with any nutritional supplement, always consult your primary healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions and if you are on medication to avoid possible interactions. It is important to remember that the body does need trace minerals, so do not take more than the recommended dose of either supplement to avoid depletion of good minerals.


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Post 4

@jmc88 - I believe the major difference between the two different organic acids is their weight. If I remember correctly, they are both just kind of a lump of different atoms all thrown together. They don't have a specific formula like water or glucose or something.

I wish I could remember all of the different elements they are made of. They are organic, so they obviously have carbon. Hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are part of them, too, I'm sure. Some of the other common elements in the soil are sulfur and silicon, so it is possible that these can bind with the acids, too.

Post 3

I used to know someone who swore by taking pills with fulvic acid in them. I know I have heard of it before, but I never really knew what the use was. I didn't know that you could take humic acid supplements, though.

Does anyone know the exact fulvic acid benefits besides just getting rid of different toxins? What are the toxins in our bodies that it would bond with? The article mentions positively charged ions. I am pretty sure calcium is a positive atom, but you wouldn't want the fulvic acid to be taking that out of your system, would you?

If you are going to buy these supplements, can you find them at normal drug stores or supermarkets or would you have to go to a store that specifically sells supplements or even some type of health food store? How do you make sure you get the fulvic or humic acid for human consumption?

Post 2

@jmc88 - Good question. As far as I know, humus is the combined term for all the organic matter in the soil. Like the article mentions, humic acid and fulvic acid are two parts of that organic matter.

As far as putting the organics on your garden, I am pretty sure you can buy humic acid fertilizers. Potting soil usually all organic matter if you buy that. The organic matter is what makes the soil black.

Depending on where you live, you might not really need to add any type of organic matter to your soil. I am lucky enough to live in Illinois where the soil is very rich. I have had a garden in the same place for over 10 years and it still produces just as well as it always has. If you really want to know, you can usually find soil testing kits at your local garden center that will tell you if you need fertilizer.

Post 1

So, what are the main differences between human and fulvic acid? I am curious about what the chemical make up of the two acids is, too.

Are these special "chemicals" that you could buy and put onto your garden, or do they have to form naturally in soil?

I assume it is probably related somehow, but I have also heard of humus. What is it, and does it have anything to do with humic acid and fulvic acid?

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