What are Fulvic Acids
Fulvic acids are extremely complex, bioactive, low molecular weight, humic substances that are the final product of microbial decomposition of the natural, organic matter from the remains of prehistoric forests that flourished on Earth over 100 million years ago.
Why is it Called Fulvic Acids
It is more correctly called fulvic acids (plural), because it is not a single consistent substance, but a highly varied and complex substance reflecting the diversity and complexity of the natural organic matter of its origin and creation.
What are Humic Substances?
Humic substances (HS) are major components of the natural organic matter (NOM) in soil and water as well as in geological organic deposits such as lake sediments, peats, brown coals and shales. They make up much of the characteristic brown colour of decaying plant debris and contribute to the brown or black color in surface soils. They are major components of NOM in surface waters and at higher concentrations can impart a dark colour, especially in brown fresh water ponds, lakes, and streams. In leaf litter or composts, the colour may be yellowish-brown to black, depending on the degree of decay and concentration.
Humic substances are very important components of soil that affect physical and chemical properties and improve soil fertility. In aqueous systems, like rivers, about 50% of the dissolved organic materials are HS that affect pH and alkalinity. In terrestrial and aquatic systems HS affect the chemistry, cycling and bioavailability of chemical elements, as well as transport and degradation of xenobiotic and natural organic chemicals. They affect biological productivity in aquatic ecosystems, as well as the formation of disinfection by-products during water treatment.
Humic substances are complex and heterogeneous mixtures of polydispersed materials formed by biochemical and chemical reactions during the decay and transformation of plant and microbial remains (a process called humification). Plant lignin and its transformation products, as well as polysaccharides, melanin, cutin, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, fine char particles, etc., are important components taking part in this process.
Humic substances in soils and sediments can be divided into three main fractions: humic acids (HA or HAs), fulvic acids (FA or FAs) and humin. The HA and FA are extracted from soil and other solid phase sources using a strong base (NaOH or KOH). Humic acids are insoluble at low pH, and they are precipitated by adding strong acid (adjust to pH 1 with HCl). Humin cannot be extracted with either a strong base or a strong acid.
Aquatic HS contain only HA and FA and these components are generally removed from water by lowering the pH to 2 and adsorbing both components on a suitable resin column. The HA and FA are extracted from the resin with strong base followed by lowering the pH to 1 to precipitate the HA. The resin column separation is also used to separate FA from the non-humic materials (amino acids, peptides, sugars, etc.) extracted from soils. At low pH the FA adsorbs on the resin, but non-humic materials pass through the column.
Humic substances are highly chemically reactive yet recalcitrant with respect to biodegradation. Most of the data on HA, FA and humin refer to average properties and structure of a large ensemble of components of diverse structure and molecular weight. The precise properties and structure of a given HS sample depends on the water or soil source and the specific conditions of extraction. Nevertheless, the average properties of HA, FA and humin from different sources are remarkably similar.
What is Leonardite?
Leonardite is a type of coal, which is the earth’s physical storage of the solar energy from the past in the form of preserved plant material. Coal is made up plant material that has been broken down by bacteria and fungi in a peat swamp and then has been subjected to temperature for varying amount of time to produce a progression of coals. Leonardite sits on the coal scale between soft, wet peat and hard, shiny bituminous black coal.
Why aren’t the current tests for fulvic acid accurate?
The current standard of testing fulvic acid is not accurate because the test involves the arbitrary separation of a molecules at a pH of 2. The use of pH 2 is used as this is the method of separating fulvic acid molecules by chemical means. Therefore the current standard of definition of what are “fulvic” and what are “humic” molecules are based upon the a method of extraction, and a chemical method at that. The research that we have done and other scientists around the world have done regarding humic and fulvic molecules indicate that these molecules do not align themselves neatly according to a pH 2 divider. There are important highly bioactive molecules on the both sides of pH 2 which are not taken into account using this method of testing. Therefore, we espouse a four fold parameter of characterising high quality humic or fulvic molecules. Please see our document titled Humic Substances Criteria for more information on the 4 criteria we deem important to determine the quality of any humic substance.
I thought fulvic acid supplements were meant to be mineral supplements. That’s what your competitors say anyway. Why don’t you list the minerals in your product?
Please understand that the strength of our fulvic comes not from having all the metals and minerals, but from having far less of those and more of the actual fulvic. Products that tout 77 minerals, or this or that enzyme, are covering up the fact that they have very little if any fulvic. There is no scientific basis for claiming the 77 minerals, and most of these minerals are in such trace amounts that their efficacy is questionable.
Other fulvic producers don’t have the technology that we have to extract pure fulvic acid. Some of the minerals are part and parcel of the other components that are other than the fulvic acid. Many fulvic companies intentionally add minerals, vitamins or amino acids etc. to mask the extremely low amount of fulvic concentration of their products. Most of the fulvic products we have tested from all around the world usually tests from 0.01 to 0.2 % fulvic acid with most of them averaging 0.02%. Therefore, whatever benefit that may be derived from these products are probably not from the fulvic. Our aim is to supply the highest concentration, quality and purity of fulvic acid so that the user has the opportunity to genuinely derive benefit from the fulvic acid itself and not due to any presence trace minerals that can be easily and inexpensively obtained from seaweed for example or from B vitamins. If one wishes to include other minerals or vitamins they can be added at much less cost.
Where is the source of your product?
Our raw material currently comes from northwestern Canada. The material is a huge deposit that used to be an ancient forest over 100 million years ago. Through time, ideal conditions for weathering, and microbial decomposition this was transformed into a high quality oxidized lignite (Leonardite) seam. It is not a salt water source of Leonardite. We are aware of the Leonardite deposits in the USA, especially from the New Mexico region. Although the New Mexico material contains humic acid the fulvic acid content is extremely low. Fortunately we have secured a supply of one of the best seams in the world for fulvic acid. Also our supply source is far from any industrial area and is noted for its high fulvic acid content and purity. The only other source of high quality oxidized lignite in the world that we are aware of is in the southeastern region of Victoria in Australia. In time our plan is to be able to source both.
How is your product processed?
The processing method is critically important in the production of fulvic acid regardless of the quality of the source. Our product is derived from a high quality pure source of oxidized lignite or Leonardite and is processed in such a way to ensure its quality.
Via patented process we gently extract the smallest fulvic acid molecules by molecular weight rather than by simple water extraction or chemical extraction. Chemical extraction results in large amounts of salts, contaminants and extreme pH levels. Some companies adjust the extreme pH that results from chemical extraction to a more normal level by adding bases and acids but this again produces even more unwanted salts and contaminants. 0.2% is the maximum achievable through chemical extraction. We came across only one other company able to achieve a percentage that approaches 0.2% fulvic acid, however, it was accompanied by high salt levels.
Other companies use a simple water extraction without using chemicals but this results in an even lower amount of FA content than the chemically extracted versions. Due to our method our salt levels are extremely low. Furthermore the purity of our fulvic acid solution enables us to concentrate the amount of fulvic acid molecules many fold over our competitors’ products. What our product offers is an extremely pure and concentrated fulvic acid that we believe is the most advanced of its kind on the market today.
Why is your product the best?
The quality of our fulvic acid is the highest in the industry.
Quality can be defined as how bio-active the fulvic acid molecules are, and the bio-activity is determined by molecular size. Molecular size can be measured by a test that involves a spectrophotometer measuring the E4/E6 ratio of light wavelengths that pass through a solution containing fulvic acid. Our E4/E6 ratio is generally in the 17 to 20 range. Currently the only other pure fulvic acid is a laboratory standard produced by IHSS (International Humic Substances Society) that has an E4/E6 of about 14 - 15. Most competitors' fuvic acid is much lower and fall under 10, and are in the range of humic acid rather than fulvic acid. Our E4/E6 ratio meets and exceeds the laboratory standard of the IHSS. This laboratory standard costs about $200 USD per gram of dried fulvic acid. Obviously this only used for lab purposes. One 250ml bottle of our product, however, contains 7.5 grams of high quality fulvic acid that meets and exceeds the IHSS standard.
We have tested numerous fulvic acid products and most, fall in in the range of 0.02 % by weight regardless of the claims they are making. Our product contains 30,000 ppm (3%) of fulvic acid (low molecular weight humic substances). There are companies that even claim 25% or 100% fulvic acid content! Unfortunately, many are taken by their good marketing skills that promote fairly questionable science.
Does fulvic acid leach plastics?
No. Fulvic acids chelate inorganic metals, not plastic. Fulvic does not leach toxins out of plastic or break plastic down. However, bad plastic containing polyvinyl chloride plasticisers (PVC #3), polycarbonates containing bisphenol A (PC #7) and polyethylene terephthalate plastics containing phthalates (PET #1) will leach into the fulvic. We only use non-toxic, non-leaching, polypropylene plastic (PP #5).