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  • 1 University of Veterinary Medicine, P. O. Box 2, H-1400 Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 Europharmavet Ltd., Budapest, Hungary
Open access

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of fulvic acid (FA) and humic acid (HA), the two main compounds of humic substances (HSs), on copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) homeostasis. Seventy-two male Wistar rats were randomly divided into nine experimental groups. The control diet (AIN-93G formula) and the diets supplemented with 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.4% and 0.8% FA or HA were fed for 26 days. Cu and Zn concentrations of the large intestinal content (LIC), liver, kidney, femur and hair were determined. FA and HA did not influence significantly the Cu or Zn contents of the experimental diets, the rats’ feed intake, weight gain and the feed to gain ratio. Both FA and HA decreased the Cu concentrations of the LIC significantly and in a dose-related manner; however the absorption-stimulating effect of HA was more pronounced. FA increased the Cu content of the liver, but neither FA nor HA had a dose-dependent effect on it. FA or HA supplementations had no significant effect on the Cu concentration of the kidney. At the concentrations used, dietary FA or HA supplementations are not promising growth promoters. FA influences the Cu homeostasis unlike HA, because FA not only stimulates Cu absorption, but the extra quantity of absorbed Cu is retained in the organism. The stimulatory effect of HA on Zn absorption may not be manifested in Cu and Zn homeostasis, because of the tight connection of these microelements to FA and HA, which prevents the transmission of Zn from the ZnHA complex to the organs. As regards the effect of FA and HA on Cu and Zn homeostasis, both FA and HA stimulated the absorption of these microelements, but only FA increased the retention of Cu (in the liver) and Zn (in the kidney).

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