Can biochemistry reveal the truth behind fulvic acids as nutrient delivery molecules or is it baloney?
It has been stated for many years that fulvic acid is a nutrient transport molecule, inferring that it increases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. To find out how this is explained in biochemical terms, I’ve asked biochemist Dr. M.K. Williams, Ph.D. to review this topic and give us his opinion.
Nutrient transport begins with our digestive process. The effects of fulvic acids in the diet has been attributed to several concerted molecular events that greatly enhance the digestive process. To be clear, fulvic acid, like other organic acids, is also known as flavonoids, phenolic acid and a class of polyphenols. They are phytochemicals that come from fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
It is effortless to eat an excessive amount of carbohydrates these days. Over time, this can cause dysregulation of insulin production that could lead to insulin-insensitivity and subsequent disruption of glucose homeostasis. At a minimum, our modern diet places an unnatural load of simple sugars, and chemically-altered molecules on us that increase our production of fat, reduce our energy, lower our immune response, decrease our ability to neutralize free-radical damage, and destabilize our gut bacterial balance.
The studies Dr. Williams has reviewed in his white paper show that polyphenols modulate intracellular signaling. One significant instance of this is signaling glucose to be shuttled away from typical fat production and storage to an increase uptake in muscle. When glucose is stored in in the muscles it increases available energy and subsequently improves mitochondrial biogenesis -- another way of saying the cells produce more mitochondria for more energy (ATP) production.
Another significant finding is that “Polyphenols have antioxidant activity and inhibit advanced glycation end product formation. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that become damaged as a result of exposure to sugars. These damaged proteins or lipids can be a factor in aging and in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases.” Dr. Williams
The way fulvic acids and polyphenols facilitate nutrient transport and absorption can be reduced to four significant functions:
Transports glucose away from fat storage to muscular availability
Stimulates AMPK, a master regulator of cellular energy
Maintains a healthy gut microbiome
“The uptake of nutrients effected by fulvic acids can be looked at in two ways – both of which I think are correct," says Dr. Williams. Fulvic acids are nutrient delivery agents because they reduce the uptake of glucose in the intestine, liver, and fat cells, and they ‘deliver it’ to the muscle cells. Moreover, they shuttle glucose away from liver storage to the breakdown of stored glucose in the liver, shuttle glucose away from adipocyte formation, stimulate AMPK and mitochondrial biogenesis. FA’s can be called nutrient delivery molecules because of the way they divert nutrient delivery away from certain tissues and deliver it to others.” "Having said that, fulvic acids can also be called ‘metabolic regulators’ for all the same reasons stated above. They do indeed “down-regulate” or “up-regulate” certain gene pathways, that result in the shuttling of glucose from fatty acid synthesis to ATP production. This is more scientifically correct terminology and iff I had to choose, I would call fulvic acids nutrient regulators.”
Nutrient delivery molecules or nutrient regulators, across the board, flavonoids are the powerhouse of nutritional activators and fulvic acids appear to be the most complex assortment of flavonoids available.