In traditional cooking, people often use meat bones as a base for tasty stock. Aside from being the secret to great cooking, bone broth is also incredibly nutritious and has numerous health benefits. In this post, you’ll learn more about bone broth benefits and why you should make this amazing drink a staple in your diet.
The Weston A. Price Foundation, and many advocates of the Paleo and Primal lifestyles – promote bone broth for its wide array of nutrients that are difficult to find in any other food source.
Broth made from chicken bones may also reduce the migration of immune cells during sickness, hence why your great-grandma may have given you a warm bowl of chicken soup when you were sick! These are just some of the many reasons to love bone broth.
Bone broth, along with bio-optimised collagen supplementation, has been mentioned in many of our videos and masterclasses, but we haven’t really provided a thorough overview in a convenient place for our community members and followers.
So here it is – everything you’ll want to know about bone broth’s benefits! In this research-dense article, we intend to highlight the role of broth in traditional cultures, the nutritive components of bone broth, and the numerous health benefits.
- Bone Broth in Traditional Cuisine
- Unlocking Bone Broth Benefits with ‘Nose-to-Tail Eating’
- What is Bone Broth?
- Bone Broth is a ‘Savvy’ Nutrient-Rich Gold Mine!
- Bone Broth Offers Amazing Healing Properties
- What Else is ‘Savvy’ About Bone Broth?
- Potential Health Benefits of Regular Bone Broth and Collagen Consumption
- Which Bones Will Give Me the Richest, Most Gelatinous Broth?
Bone Broth in Traditional Cuisine
We’ve heard that there’s a South American proverb that says, “Good broth will resurrect the dead.” While this is certainly a stretch, many users have experienced quite a remarkable recovery from illness when incorporating it into their wellness regimens.
Here in the Savvy Team Wellness Community – we certainly recommend it as part of our gut healing and detox protocols – along with other programs for all-round wellbeing and we have seen remarkable results.
Scientists at the University of Nebraska sought to test the folklore in 2000 and found that in vitro (in a petri dish), some components of chicken soup were able to inhibit the migration of innate immune cells called neutrophils, effectively acting as an anti-inflammatory that could, in theory, reduce symptoms of illness. 1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11035691
Whether this effect occurs in vivo (in a living being) is still unclear, but this preliminary information suggests that our ancestors were onto something. It turns out that properly prepared stock and broth are more than just a tasty addition to the menu!
Unlocking Bone Broth Benefits with ‘Nose-to-Tail Eating’
A core component of the ‘Eat Savvy’ Diet approach is using whole foods to nourish your body and get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. That way any supplements you take can ‘add value’ to you, working from a solid dietary foundation rather than a depleted foundation. Traditional cultures achieved this by practicing ‘nose-to-tail’ eating and consuming all parts of the animal, including the skin, cartilage, tendons, organ meats and other gelatin-rich cuts of meat. All of these ‘nasty bits’ were consumed regularly in the diet, and were the ‘original supplements’.
This provided a balanced intake of all the nutrients and amino acids necessary to build and maintain essential structures in the human body. Some anthropologists have even suggested that in some regions of the world, early humans were scavengers rather than hunters, using tools to crack open the bones of carcasses left by lions and other large predators to expose the rich bone marrow and other parts rich in nutrients. 2)https://www.jstor.org/stable/25801183?seq=1
Unfortunately, in modern society, we have lost the practice of whole-animal eating. The age-old tradition of having a hot pot of bone broth constantly cooking on the hearth has been lost in favour of modern convenience, microwaves, and highly processed packaged stock. Bringing bone broth back into the modern diet offers an easy and delicious means of obtaining the nutrition from parts of the animal that traditional cultures prized.
This dietary lack due to changes in the foods we choose and the way we eat as a society is why we offer access to cutting edge bio-optimised collagen as a supplement. We’ve found that by the use of supplements, we can help community members fast-track their healing, as many people are just not willing or able to adopt traditional dietary practices. Even then, simply changing your diet without additional supplementation, may not be sufficient for healing.
We’ve been talking about bone broth for a long time and we’ve been drinking it even longer! The copious health benefits are simply too substantial to pass up. We count quality bone broth as an important food and certainly a ‘savvy’ addition to your diet!
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is simply a broth made by boiling bones (often with meat still on them). Usually, vinegar is added as a medium (the thought is to draw out nutrients). Sometimes vegetables, herbs, and spices are added for additional flavour and nutrients. Whereas soup is a meal, often containing vegetables, grains, seasonings, and even beans – bone broth stands on its own and is usually more cooked than soup.
Bone broth is also an ‘ingredient’ that can be used to create or flavour all kinds of dishes. It contains parts of the animal we typically like to discard (like cartilage and bone marrow), all nicely broken down so we get the full dose of nutrients.
Bone Broth is a ‘Savvy’ Nutrient-Rich Gold Mine!
Bones contain an abundance of minerals as well as 17 different amino acids, many of which are found in bone broth as proteins like collagen and gelatin. Though the exact nutritional content varies based on the bones used, cooking time, and cooking method, the following nutrients are consistently found in most bone broths.
Collagen – part of the ‘Magic’ of Bone Broth
Inside the matrix of bones, there are many proteins including collagen, which forms the inside fibrous part of the bone.
Collagen is a group of amino acids making up 25-35% of our body. It’s found in our bones, skin, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also present in the blood vessels, cornea, and the lens of the eye.
The name collagen comes from the Greek ‘kólla’, meaning ‘glue’, and the suffix ‘-gen’, which means ‘producing’. So literally the ‘glue-producing’ substance that holds us all together! In addition to providing structure, collagen also plays an important role in tissue development and regulation. 3)https://jcs.biologists.org/content/95/4/649.short 4)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0968432800000433
Type I Collagen is found in bone, skin, ligaments, tendons and the white of the eye, and makes up 90% of the collagen in the body. Type II is found in the cartilage. Type III is found in bone marrow and lymph, also known as reticulin fiber.
As we age, we lose collagen. This contributes to age-related joint issues, not to mention the loss of skin elasticity. Both Broth can be very helpful in supporting healthy ageing, however for ‘turning back the clock’ as they say – we’ve found that collagen-hyaluronic acid supplementation is needed.
When collagen is simmered, it forms gelatin. This hydrolysis of collagen is irreversible and results in the breakdown of long collagen protein fibrils into smaller protein peptides. However, its chemical composition is very similar to its parent molecule, collagen. (10) Gelatin is what gives bone broth or stock its jelly-like consistency once it has cooled.
Glycosaminoglycans are complex carbohydrates that participate in many biological processes. They can attach to proteins in order to form proteoglycans, which are integral parts of connective tissue and synovial fluid, the lubricant that surrounds the joint. (11) If the connective tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, is still attached, the bones in broth will provide our bodies with raw materials for skin, bone, and cartilage formation, including; keratan sulfates, dermatan sulfates, chondroitin sulfates, and hyaluronic acid.
Glycine is a primary amino acid found in collagen. And it’s a pretty important amino acid in terms of what it does within the body. Glycine is a ‘non-essential amino acid’, meaning your body can synthesise it. However, it’s actually considered ‘conditionally essential’, as it’s synthesised from the amino acid serine at only about 3 grams per day – not nearly enough for our requirements.
The human body requires at least 10 grams per day for basic metabolic processes, so we have a pretty significant daily deficit that we need to get through dietary or supplement means. Most of us these days aren’t eating ligaments and tendons and rougher cuts of meat containing glycine. This is a significant change from our ancestors – and our health has declined since we as a ‘modern culture’ have sought ‘lean meats’ rather than incorporating the ‘nose-to-tail’ nutrition that our ancestors did.
Bone broth contains approximately 27.2 grams of glycine per 100 grams of protein. Therefore, it makes for a great source of this amino acid. Rather than taking an isolated glycine supplement, bone broth contains glycine with other amino acids and minerals, which act synergistically with each other.
Bone Broth Offers Amazing Healing Properties
Bone Broth Can Help Digestive & Gut Health
Extra glycine, through the usage of bone broth, can improve your digestive health through inhibiting cytokines, thus decreasing inflammation in the gut lining. Glycine helps with sealing the mucosal layer in the intestines. It aids in liver detoxification and helps with fructose malabsorption.
In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has made bone and meat stock the foundation of the GAPS protocol because of its ability to heal and seal the gut lining and reduce the overgrowth of harmful microbes. 5)https://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Syndrome-D-D-D-H-D-Schizophrenia/dp/0954852028 Dr. Campbell-McBride believes that poor nutrition and a leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, are responsible for many psychological, neurological, and behavioral issues.
Bone Broth Can Improve Joint Health
Contrary to what you might think, ‘non-essential’ amino acids are pretty, well, ‘SAVVY’! A study was done on a hundred women between the ages of 40 and 70 who presented with knee joint pain or discomfort.6)http://sunwavepharma.com/studii/derma/2015_01_04_muvon.pdf The results suggested that collagen increases the proteoglycan content in knee cartilage after 6 months of treatment. We need at least 10 grams of glycine each day for basic metabolic processes. One of those processes of glycine is the maintenance of the collagen in our body.
Collagen concentrates where joints meet and in the connective tissue binding us together. Those 10 grams of glycine is just for maintenance, NOT repairing tissue after injury, or recovery from intense weight training. If you exercise heavily or are recovering from any sort of joint damage, bone broth and supplementary collagen can improve your recovery.
Bone Broth can Help Keep the Skin Supple
Research suggests collagen may act as a biological messenger, triggering the synthesis of new collagen fibres and extracellular matrix recognition by stimulating fibroblasts.
Bone Broth can help Restore Glutathione
Glutathione protects against oxidative stress, and helps decrease the impact of bad oestrogens that can build up over time, compromising our hormonal health.
Bone Broth May Help Improve Cognition
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play a significant role in learning and memory. Targeting the glycine modulatory site of the NMDA receptor has been suggested as a therapeutic strategy to improve cognition. Glycine is considered an ‘inhibitory neurotransmitter’ and can act in the brain similarly to an antidepressant, without all the side effects.
Bone Broth Can Improve Sleep Quality
It does this by decreasing core body temperature and increasing cutaneous blood flow. Cooler body temp means deeper sleep. A really helpful ‘sleep hack’ is a big mug of bone broth about an hour before bed. Plus according to research, this isn’t from ‘placebo effect’. Human studies show that 3 grams of glycine taken before bed increases the quality of your sleep and reduces daytime sleepiness following sleep restriction. Sipping bone broth before bed provides a bioavailable source of glycine, helping us achieve deeper, more restorative sleep at night.
What Else is ‘Savvy’ About Bone Broth?
Cartilage: the Home of Chondroitin and Glucosamine
We tend to discard those parts of the animal containing cartilage like the nose, ears, and joints. However, joint cartilage is easily broken down in well-cooked bone broth. Cartilage contains collagen protein and elastin. Elastin fibres play a big role in maintaining the integrity, elasticity, and the mechanical properties of cartilage.
Cartilage also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, both well-known supplements for arthritic discomfort, particularly in the knees. In one study, glucosamine–chondroitin combined resulted in a statistically significant reduction in joint space narrowing at two years. Seeing as how those supplements get the chondroitin sulfate directly from animal cartilage, why not eat the cartilage, or a bone broth made with plenty of cartilaginous material? Be sure to use bones with joints, and even throw in things such as chicken feet and beef knuckles if you can find them. Chicken backs are also a great source of chondroitin and glucosamine.
Bone Marrow: Deep in the Inner Matrix of the Bone
Bone marrow, found deep in the centre of the bone, is also worth noting. There are two types: red bone marrow and yellow bone marrow. Yellow bone marrow is higher in fat cells, whereas red bone marrow is higher in platelets. Red bone marrow contains reticulin fibres, or type III collagen. Chicken bones have higher red marrow and make for a more flavour-rich broth. Bone marrow is fatty and gelatinous, and the marrow contains most of the minerals. Cooking bones longer (24-36 hours) will yield more of those minerals into the broth.
Bone Marrow Fat Is More Than Just Fat
A University of Michigan-led study shows that the fat tissue in bone marrow is a significant source of a hormone called adiponectin. These researchers discovered that the adiponectin in bone marrow helps with insulin sensitivity, and has been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity-associated cancers.
Hyaluronic Acid: slippery synovial lubricant
Sure you can get powdered gelatins and collagen powders, but these do not contain many of the valuable nutrients that work synergistically with collagen – such as hyaluronic acid. Found in many high-end beauty serums, hyaluronic acid is the main component in synovial fluid, acting as a joint lubricant. You can also find hyaluronic acid in the bones and the connective tissue (usually attached to the bones). This study compared hyaluronic acid with NSAIDs for knee osteoarthritis. Both worked about the same, but hyaluronic acid is a safer alternative. The high-tech bio-optimised collagen we use is a matrix of Collagen and Hyaluronic acid that’s a perfect match for our body and is ready absorbed. Powdered Collagen supplements, while beneficial for the amino acid building blocks, do not offer the full effect without the synergistic action of hyaluronic acid.
Proline: another noteworthy amino acid found in bone broth
Proline forms the structure of collagen, and like glycine, is considered a ‘conditionally essential’ amino acid that we can get through our diet and is found in bone broth. Proline is needed to build collagen, to increase collagen synthesis in human fibroblast cells. As a result, it’s an important amino acid for skin health. Proline is great for healing, especially after intense workouts or straining the body. Animal studies suggest that proline helps with skin wound healing. People recovering from injuries have a higher need for proline. And don’t forget, heavy weight-lifting is a stress to the body that requires recovery.
In the 7 Steps for Healthy Heart Masterclass, we discuss how proline and other amino acids often missing from the modern diet, are important in the structural integrity of the arteries and blood vessels. With Cardiovascular disease being the leading killer in much of the developed world – adding Bone Broth to your diet and considering collagen supplementation is worth considering.
Glutamine is another important amino acid found in bone broth and is the most abundant amino acid in the blood. 7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12771367 It is one of the few amino acids that can directly cross the blood–brain barrier.8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12742070 Intestinal epithelial cells and activated immune cells eagerly consume glutamine for cellular energy.9)http://www.jbc.org/content/249/16/5070.short 10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11533304
What about Minerals?
If you’ve been part of our programs in the past, you’ll know that we believe in the value of trace mineral supplementation.
Well, bone broth can be high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, with one caveat – more on that later.
Bone is also full of a variety of minerals, including; Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Zinc.11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15982542 An acidic medium is necessary to extract these minerals from the bones. When making broth, always add a splash of vinegar or other acids, and soak for a period of time before heating, in order to allow minerals to be released from the bone.
Recent research showed that bones cooked for more than eight hours were found not to exceed low tenths of a milligram per serving, or <5% of the daily recommended levels of calcium and magnesium. Another study highlighted veal bones sliced open to expose the marrow, placed in water with vinegar, and boiled for nine hours. The mineral loss from bones into the broth was extremely low – just a few milligrams of calcium and magnesium. So you can see why although use and recommend bone broth – we still feel that trace mineral supplementation is important.
Longer cooking times (24-36 hours), where the meat falls off the bone and the bone really breaks down, tend to yield different results in terms of increased mineral content. However, it takes a long time for bones to break down and to get those interior nutrients. Longer cooking times can increase the histamine content of the broth, and many people are sensitive to this.
Therefore, we don’t suggest that community members rely on bone broth as a primary source of trace minerals.
Potential Health Benefits of Regular Bone Broth and Collagen Consumption
- Improved skin Health
- Metabolic and Cardiovascular health benefits
- Muscle and performance benefits
- Bone and joint health support
- Better Gut Health
- Digestion support
- Detoxification, Liver Function, and Kidney Health
- Eye Health
- Brain Health
- Mood and Sleep support
- Improved Immune Function
Are There Any Downsides to Bone Broth?
We’ve discussed many of the nutrients and positive benefits of bone broth, now let’s dive into some potential downsides.
One concern some raise, is the potential level of heavy metals found in bone broth, depending on the source of the bones used. Research is mixed on this.
Weston Price describes a study into two broths made from grass-fed beef bones and pasture-raised chicken bones that was unable to detect any lead in either. So, your focus should be on sourcing quality bones! The animal’s environment and upbringing are everything.
Buying bones for a broth that are from pasture-raised animals or wild-caught fish will minimize the toxins and maximize the nutrients you get from the product. Ideally organic is best as well.
We don’t feel you should be particularly worried if you use typical bones – as the benefits of bone broth far outweigh any drawbacks for most people.
Another concern some raise, is the glutamate content. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter and is naturally high in some nutritious foods such as bone broth, soups, and even sauerkraut.
Bone broth cooked for over 48 hours releases more glutamate, and as an excitatory neurotransmitter – this raises concerns for people with neurological issues such as autism, ADHD, and multiple sclerosis. The theory is that excess free glutamate found in long-cooked broths may cross the blood-brain barrier (for those with an already problematic ‘leaky brain’) and maybe a trigger for these particular folks.
This doesn’t condemn the food and make it ‘harmful’. Most of us can process it just fine. Glutamate is only an issue if the person is highly sensitive to it, like any allergen. If you’re sensitive to glutamate or have a neurological condition of some kind, you may need to start with shorter cooking times, and gradually building up to see what you can handle. Keep in mind that there are many other foods we consume that are much higher in glutamate than bone broth. In our opinion, the health benefits far outweigh glutamate concerns for most people.
Taste & Convenience
Beyond these, downsides you might hear from others include the taste and convenience. People sometimes quip, “I don’t like the taste”, or “I don’t have the time”. We are skeptical of what they’ve tried in the past in the way of ‘taste’. As with any food, quality ingredients, and a good recipe makes a big difference. Also pre-packaged or powdered ‘bone broth’ does not taste the same or offer the same value as properly prepared home-cooked broth.
It is a time commitment to make your own broth, but it’s not hard and saves money and food wastage. In fact, really – a basic bone broth is one of the simplest things you can cook. You do need time, which we know isn’t always practical. Carrying it around isn’t always easiest either. But the benefits of collagen are frankly too good for your health to pass up.
For this reason, we provide access to a convenient, bio-optimised collagen supplement without the typical ‘meaty flavour’. It’s nice to have an alternative and a more convenient collagen source when you need it, especially if you are undergoing a healing program.
Which Bones Will Give Me the Richest, Most Gelatinous Broth?
For the most luxurious, gelatinous flavourful broth, be sure to favour bones with joints. You want those intersections and moving parts! This is where the cartilage, collagen, and synovial fluid are highest, translating into legit bone broth. Include parts like knuckles, feet, tails, necks, backs, wings, and ears! Don’t be afraid to even cook the head of the animal in your broth. Bone broth is a great way to be resourceful and use the entire animal.
Broth Variations and Recipes
Over the years we’ve experimented with a variety of recipes and variations for making different broths. It’s fun to play around with different seasonings, different bones, with and without vegetables, roasting and not roasting the bones, etc.
Follow our basic recipe and you can experiment from there!
Let’s open it up for discussion now. Questions, additional recipes, comments? What’s your unique reason or favourite way to enjoy bone broth?
Have questions? Want to know what we suggest?
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