You might not be familiar with humic acid, but you probably are familiar with the axiom, “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt!” As a rule, it’s more often spoken by gritty hikers, sandbox-reveling children, or drunken friends who just face-planted in the mud. But there’s a larger truth hidden in that sing-song phrase; one that might be profoundly relevant to everyone.
Yet to find that truth, we have to “dig a little deeper.” Find a great humic acid supplement.
Thirty or so feet deeper, to be exact. That’s the depth Candice Nicole goes to get the humic and fulvic acids comprising the range of humic acid supplements from HUmineral, a Los Angeles-based health and wellness company she launched in 2011. Prodigiously exuberant and inordinately well-read, Nicole believes humic substances hold the key to repairing our health at the cellular level, and there’s an ever-growing catalog of laboratory studies to back her up.
What’s In A Humic Acid Supplement?
For those lacking a chemistry degree, let’s sift through a little science refresher: First, when it comes to acids we are not referring to bubbling vats of horror-movie goop. We consume acids all the time, from folic to amino, to citric and innumerable others, and all are vital to a healthy life. Without gastric acids in your stomach, for instance, food would just bump around like stinky interpretations of a Jackson Pollack painting; without lactic acid, your body couldn’t regulate your metabolism, and we wouldn’t have sourdough bread, yogurt, cottage cheese, and a host of other goodies. Some of these acids are secreted by our bodies, while others are made by bacteria in the foods we eat. Still others, like humic acid, are naturally occurring compounds composed of many trace minerals.
But what are trace minerals, and what is humic acid, specifically? Well, in a word, humates are not a single entity, but a mind-numbingly, often frustratingly complex mixture of many different carbon-rich materials. Both humic and fulvic minerals (the latter is actually a kind of humic acid, but with large enough oxygen concentrations to warrant having its own name) occur naturally and in unison all over the world, as liquid minerals in coals, plants, and water sediments. Once plant matter in the ground crosses the fuzzy line between organic matter and dirt – in a process aptly called “humification,” which can take thousands or even millions of years – it begins to do a number of interesting things as it turns into peat humus, including help the surrounding soil retain nutrients.
This explains why humic acid supplements have been used part of farmers’ fertilizers since time immemorial (one of the byproducts of putting worms in your garden is, you guessed it, humic acid production). While it doesn’t fertilize plants directly, one of the benefits of humic acid is it radically stimulates plant enzymes and root growth, helps convert key nutrients into plant food, absorbs toxic pesticides, and even aids in seed germination.
“Animals – including us – have always consumed humic acids as part of their diets,” explains Nicole. “They have always been around; they are what the plant-eating dinosaurs munched on. The problem is, as we continue to degrade the soil by spraying everything with chemicals, naturally occurring humic acids have become less and less readily available in our food.”
Consequently, over the past few decades, people have begun to play with the idea of boosting our humic acid consumption through mineral supplements. Since this idea is relatively new, Geoffrey Davies, professor of Chemistry at Northeastern University and an expert on humic acids, says the humic acid supplements industry is in the process of “finding its way,” and that the need for regulation and certification will be the next step if a proper adoption of humic acid supplements is going to take place.
“If you put too much of these humic materials into the soil it can be detrimental, or if you put too much on plants, it will kill them,” says Davies. “Yet if you use the optimum amount the plant will grow twice as fast, so you have to know exactly what the contents of these products are, and this obviously pertains to the (humic acid supplements) industry too.”
Several recent studies, including a series of reports published in 2005 by the Institute of Animal Nutrition at the University of Leipzig, are exposing the potential power of humic acids. The University of Leipzig research, in particular, documents how traditional feed mixed with humic acids increased cows’ calcium production by 16 percent, boosted healthy weight in poultry by 30 percent, reduced stress-causing hormones, and stabilized intestinal flora, resulting in improved “utilization of nutrients, optimum pH in the gut, (and improved) protein digestion” in all the animals studied.
Nicole isn’t surprised by humic acid’s widespread potential. What are humic acid supplements made from?
“Just like it does in soil, humic acids help (the body take up) nutrients,” Nicole says. “It acts as a dilator that increases cell permeability, which allows an easier transfer of minerals. So if you are eating great stuff, it helps with the uptake of that great stuff into your cells, ensuring all the nutrients you eat are bio-available.
“When I first tried a humic acid supplement, it was in a pill that I came across when working as a distributor,” she continues. “I never took pills, but when I took it – I know this sounds crazy – I actually felt smarter.”
Actually it doesn’t sound too crazy at all. According to the same University of Leipzig roundup, several humic-related research studies have found the presence of humic acid helps red blood cells carry more oxygen. The side effects of increased oxygenation, it explains (and any medical reference text will attest), include “feelings of euphoria during the first few days.”
Science is so awesome. Humic acid supplements!
“I was amazed,” Nicole recalls, “and so enamored with humic acid that I was led to formulate, produce, bottle, and bring to market powerful, life-giving humic acid supplements myself – because the world needs to know about their numerous benefits!”
What we need to know could extend well beyond basic nutrition, especially as the research pool grows. Anyone even passingly familiar with anatomy or basic physical therapy, for example, knows that an increase in oxygen to the red blood cells can help injuries repair faster. According to a 2005 report by Dr. J.H. Stewart, a licensed equine veterinarian and nutrition consultant, consuming humic acid supplements is “showing very promising results in a range of performance-related problems” in horses, and that’s on top of the increased “feed conversion efficiency and balanced intestinal microflora” that has also been found by adding humic substances to horse feed.
Currently, HUmineral only sells a handful of edible humic acid supplements, including bars, raw powder, and a raw liquid, all of which are rich in fulvic and humic acids. The company also makes a humic acid skin spritz, which Nicole says is very good for lines, wrinkles, age spots, and even for your hair.
“Humic Acid is plenty rich in zinc, and magnesium (which are the most important minerals for increasing collagen), so the real benefit for the skin … is the polyphenols (anti-oxidants), delivered directly to the skin along with organic major and trace minerals that absorb transdermally (through the skin), improving the health of this largest living organ system. These minerals are as excellent for putting on your body as they are for putting into your body,” Nicole says. “The spray penetrates the skin and cells, feeding and nourishing (them).”
Although there is still a lot of research to be done, every day Nicole turns more people into believers. The best story may be a recent incident when she gave an elderly woman some of HUmineral’s raw liquid Immune Boost while selling samples at a Las Vegas health-food store. The woman, described as a spry septuagenarian who had been suffering bouts of incessant diarrhea for a miserable three years, took two spoonfuls of the product and went about her day.
“(Forty-eight hours later) she called our 800-number, frantically looking for me,” Nicole says. “She was yelling over and over again, ‘I pooped! I pooped!’”
…She’s been an avid customer ever since. Humic acid supplements rock.
Jayson Matthews is a freelance writer who has dipped his pen into many portals over the years. Past credits include 920AM radio grunt, AP stringer, tech reporting for InternetNews, venture capital coverage, most of the content on global travel site PartyEarth.com, and this bio. He’s currently working on a screenplay about the underground world of amateur sumo wrestling in the United States.
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