Effect of fulvic and humic acids on performance, immune response and thyroid function in rats

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2010 Dec;94(6):721-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01023.x.


Effect of humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) on production parameters, immune response and thyroid function of rats were investigated in two experiments. First experiment: control or 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.4%, 0.8% HA- or FA-supplemented diets. Second experiment: control and 0.4% HA- or FA-supplemented diets. The feeding period lasted 26 days in both trials. No significant changes were observed in production parameters. Ovalbumine antibody titre of rats on HA- or FA-supplemented diets showed dose-dependent (at 0.4% supplementation) and significant (p < 0.05) increase (350 and 418% respectively) over the control (100%). Dose-related increase of plasma TSH (r = 0.99), and decrease of the T(4)/T(3) ratio (r = -0.97) was observed in FA-supplemented rats. Second experiment: both FA and HA stimulated the immune response by the 14th day (mean values: control: 685.79; FA: 1131.37; HA: 1055.6099) and 26th day (control: 544.31; FA: 1969.83; HA: 1600.00). No significant differences were noted with lymphocyte stimulation test. Diameter of the 'B'-dependent lymphoid tissues in the ileum and spleen were significantly (p < 0.05) larger in both the FA- and HA-treated animals. Humic acid and FA supplementation resulted in strong humoral immune stimulation. Our data also indicate that FA content is responsible for the mild hypothyroid effect of humic substances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Benzopyrans / toxicity*
  • Diet
  • Humic Substances / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Antibodies
  • Benzopyrans
  • Humic Substances
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Thyrotropin
  • Ovalbumin
  • Thyroxine
  • fulvic acid