The old is new again! And just as before, it promises better quality of life and overall health for everyone.
Bone broth has become popular (again) both for its health benefits and in fine dining too. For dining, it adds flavor and character to food with the bonus of being full of valuable nutrients. These nutrients make it nutritious, but they also improve digestion, support the immune system, provide relief for sore muscles and achy joints, and restore and maintain overall health.
But bone broth isn’t new. It goes back eons to when people first started cooking. It’s been a staple of the human diet ever since then. This is likely why it’s so popular with those who follow a paleo diet today.
The reality is bone broth belongs in every diet. The way it promotes overall health and well-being makes it invaluable to promote a great quality of life and healthy aging. In this article, we’ll take a look at what bone broth is, what are its benefits, and how to get and use it for maximum benefit, especially for anyone with sore, achy joints or health issues related to a leaky gut.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is made by boiling and slow simmering connective tissue and bones stripped of their meat with herbs, seasonings and vegetables for anywhere from 6 to 18 hours. The bones and tissue typically come from chicken, fish or livestock such as cow or lamb. It remains an important part of the diet for people around the world and a secret to delicious meals, especially for fine dining – just under another name.
The term “bone broth” is more accurately called stock.[i] You’ve probably seen stock next to broths in stores. Stock is made from bones whereas broth is made from meat which gives broth its thinner consistency. The thicker consistency of stock – bone broth – comes from the collagen that the long simmering draws from the joints and bones. Collagen is just one of the many nutrients that makes bone broth a health food.
Why Bone Broth is Good for You
Bone broth supplies a unique nutrient profile not found in other foods. It contains collagen and, more importantly, the amino acids proline and glycine. These amino acids make up collagen, the primary structural protein of connective tissue in the joints.
Your body uses proline and glycine to repair joint tissue and muscle when it gets damaged. Yet, these two amino acids are not considered “essential” by experts since the human body can make them on its own. What’s interesting is that research shows if you remove proline from your diet, its levels decrease by 20% or more.[ii]
A 2003 article by the Weston A. Price Foundation noted some in the health and medical community believe amino acids like proline and glycine should be considered “conditional” amino acids. This means that although the body produces them, it cannot make enough to meet all its needs.[iii]
Another possibly “conditional” amino acid in bone broth is glutamine. It plays a vital role in some of the body’s most important functions such as energy production and protein synthesis. Glutamine also supports a healthy digestive system. As an amino acid, glutamine is an important component of glutamate, an amino acid that is:
- Essential for an active metabolism
- Needed by the nervous system
- Vital to muscle function
- An important neurotransmitter in the brain.
Bone broth is also an excellent source of essential minerals calcium, magnesium, sulfur and silicon. The importance of the first two is well known. Calcium supports strong healthy bones, metabolism and energy, and hormone function.[iv] Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions that support the heart, blood pressure, blood sugar management, digestion and nerve health.[v]
Sulfur and silicon haven’t received the same amount of attention, despite their importance.
Sulfur – It is the third most abundant mineral in the human body. Sulfur is essential in the building of glutathione, the body’s primary antioxidant for detoxing and removing waste and toxins. It’s also an important mineral for joints as a building block for chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, nutrients which have become popular supplements for joint health and the repair and rebuilding of cartilage.
Not surprisingly, sulfur deficiency has been linked to sore muscles and joint pain. Taking sulfur has been useful as a therapy for fibromyalgia, healing from injury and more.[vi] Bone broth offers a high quality (and less expensive) source of sulfur, as well as the joint-healthy compounds glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
Silicon – Also called silica, it’s a mineral known for its role in computers, i.e., “Silicon Valley,” but people also need it to build and maintain strong bones and connective tissue, especially collagen. Researchers have found the greater one’s dietary intake of silicon, the stronger their bones and the healthier their joints.[vii]
How to Get the Best Bone Broth
Fresh bone broth can be easily made. Look for “soup” bones from organically raised chicken, fish or livestock. A butcher is a good source of bones like these. Assemble vegetables, herbs and seasonings. There are plenty of recipes online you can follow. Of course, you’ll need at least six hours and up to 16 to make it.
Now, if you don’t have 16 hours to spend slow simmering bone broth, you can still enjoy its benefits. For bone broth without the work, you can take a bone broth supplement like any of the three Organic Bone Broth Proteins listed below. You’ll save time and still get the benefits.
Plus, some supplements combine additional herbs to enhance the primary benefits of bone broth.
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Pure Organic Bone Broth Protein
The chicken base used for this bone broth makes it ideal as general support for overall health. And research shows that “chicken soup” offers special immune-boosting effects:
- In 2000, a highly publicized study released by University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers showed that chicken soup did in fact help ease the symptoms of colds and illness.[viii]
- A study of patients suffering from the Influenza A virus found carnosine, an amino acid in chicken, reduced inflammation and helped fight the infection.[ix]
As a bone broth, it also provides the following benefits:
Keeps Skin Healthy and Younger-looking
Collagen is a vital component of skin. It keeps it firm, toned and slows the appearance of wrinkles. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of women ages 35-55, those who took collagen hydrolysate enjoyed significantly greater skin elasticity at the end of eight weeks, especially the older women in the group.[x]
Glycine is essential for production of glutathione, the body’s main antioxidant needed to protect cells, metabolize nutrients and maintain DNA synthesis, cell replication and immune response.[xi] It prompts the release of stomach acid which improves digestion and nutrient availability. Glycine also helps convert glucose into energy in the muscles and improves insulin response.[xii]
Although the body produces glycine on its own, levels drop when amino acid consumption declines. Bone broth supplies amino acids, prompting the body to boost production and drive metabolism.[xiii]
Supports the Immune System and Reduces Inflammation
The way bone broth protects the intestines and the joints reduces inflammation throughout the body. This calms the immune system and encourages a healthy response to inflammation and infection.
Improves Digestive Health
Researchers have found patients with irritable bowels have lower levels of collagen.[xiv] Consuming gelatin has been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestines and ease a symptom of these irritable bowels.[xv] But the benefits of bone broth don’t end there. Glutamine has been shown to protect the lining of the gut and preserve the mucus layer which prevents irritation, improves digestion and nutrient absorption – all of which have long-term positive impacts on health and quality of living.[xvi]
Bone Broth Soothes Joint Pain
Gelatin contains proline, an amino acid required for the repair and rebuilding of cartilage. In 2008, a 24-week study tested collagen hydrolysate (a powdered form of gelatin) as a way to address joint pain in athletes. Those who took the collagen had less joint pain and recovered faster.[xvii]
A recent Spanish trial tested collagen hydrolysate, chondroitin, and glucosamine – all found in bone broth – in a six-month study of patients suffering from chronic joint aches and pains. The patients reported significant reductions in pain and stiffness with an improvement in overall function.[xviii]
A review of studies of glucosamine between 2003 and 2016 further recommends it for relief of joint pain.[xix] One 2017 study found chondroitin sulfate as effective as a prescription drug.[xx]
How to Use Pure Organic Bone Broth Protein: Take it daily as an excellent way to support and promote overall health and healthy aging. Always follow serving instructions and consult with a physician before starting any new supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Copywriter Peter Rufa writes for a wide range of clients but specializes in health. He has written for doctors, supplement providers, healthcare, medical, and fitness organizations and businesses throughout the United States.
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on September 4, 2018 and was updated on May 26, 2021.