Unfortunately in the growing world of superfruits and dietary supplements, the health benefits of bone broth have become lost in the mix. Bone broth is a nutritional staple in many cultures that has been used medicinally for centuries. It is very similar to stock and to broth. Broth is made by simmering meat for about an hour, and creates a very thin, protein filled liquid. Stock is created by cooking roasted bones for about 3 or 4 hours. Bone broth however, is produced by simmering bones for 24-48 hours with the intention of releasing trace amounts of minerals stored deep within the bones.
Aside from the different roasting times, bone broth is quite different from the beef, chicken, and vegetable stocks that you’d buy at your grocery store. Store-bought stocks almost always have added sodium, fat, and flavors so that cooking with them yields tastier dishes. Homemade bone broths and broth shops do not include these added ingredients, and instead focus more on the extraction of nutrients rather than the flavor, which have a myriad of positive health effects.
Improved Gut Health
Today’s scientists are finding that gut health affects everything from brain health to cardiovascular health. Maintaining proper ratios of gut microbiota is essential to proper health and function, which is why so many probiotic drinks have been appearing recently. Bone broth provides an alternative to those probiotics, which allows fixing of the gut naturally rather than the pumping in of lab grown bacteria cultures.
Bone broth has been shown to be one of the best ways of reversing leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is a proposed mechanism that is the potential causative process behind MS, migraines, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other similar diseases. It is believed that with leaky gut syndrome, the intestines and stomach are more permeable than normal, and allow undigested food particles out into the rest of the body. Because they don’t belong in those areas, the immune system responds to them, and launches the inflammatory response on food particles, leading to autoimmune disorders. While the science behind the theory is still ongoing, it is strongly believed that bone broth allows for less permeability of the stomach lining, which is beneficial regardless.
Bone broth is largely believed to have positive impacts on joint pain and soreness. Professional athletes such as Kobe Bryant have spoken out on behalf of its role in relieving his muscle and joint soreness. One major reason the broth alleviates sore joints because it contains collagen, proline, glycine, and glucosamine.
Collagen plays a huge role in cartilage production, bone repair via osteoblasts, and in overall joint lubrication. With age, humans produce less and less collagen, which plays a role in the development of osteoarthritis. The International Journal of Medical Sciences has concluded that including higher levels of collagen in one’s daily diet allows for increased joint mobility. Proline and glycine are both collagen precursors, and contribute to muscle and bone rebuilding.
Glucosamine is responsible for the maintenance of cartilage. Cartilage acts as lubricant for all of your joints, so that bones don’t grind on each other during movement. Glucosamine plays such a major role in cartilage maintenance that it is a commonly taken supplement for those that suffer from osteoarthritis, in order to try and increase the amount of cartilage, and reduce joint pain. Since bone broth contains collagen, proline, glycine, and glucosamine, it is very efficient in joint pain relief.
Natural Source of Minerals
Minerals are important in just about every bodily function. Just about every metabolic process from the electron transport chain to your red blood cells’ oxygen carrying capacity relies on minerals throughout your body. Not only does bone broth provide a plethora of these different minerals, but it provides them in a readily absorbable form.
Phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium all can be found in relatively high amounts within bone broth. Phosphorous is integral for proper bodily metabolism because it affects protein synthesis, endocrine production, digestion efficiency, and cell repair mechanisms. Calcium is necessary for the proper building and breakdown of bones, enamel and dental health, and a reduction in bone related diseases and disorders. Magnesium consumption is beneficial because it reduces migraine frequency, builds bone density, helps synthesize ATP (your body’s fuel) from food, and has been shown to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and all of the other trace amounts of minerals found within bone broth provide all of this incredible variety of health affects from just one source.
Higher Quality Sleep
Studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control have determined that one in three adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts heart health, mood, weight, skin health, hair health, and can lead to serious outcomes such as stroke or heart attack. Those that drink bone broth often report increased energy throughout the day and better quality sleep at night.
Bone broth removes gelatin from the bone marrow, which is an inactive form of collagen, which in bone broth can be recycled back into amino acids and reused. Gelatin contains large amounts of the amino acid glycine. Scientific research has discovered pathways in which glycine triggers serotonin production in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that synthesizes melatonin (the chemical in mammals that regulates the sleep wake cycle and induces drowsiness when it’s dark). Yes, that’s a complicated Biology cascade; but everything really is interconnected when it concerns the body’s metabolism and homeostasis.
An example of the how bone broth is related to this pathway in reality is glycine deficiency. As the condition’s name suggests, this is caused by having low glycine levels in the body. In this scenario, imagine a friend that has been undergoing a vegetarian, vegan, or paleo diet without the proper balance and supplementation in order to account for the ignored food groups. If they are not consuming enough glycine, they have the deficiency. This deficiency leads to much lowered serotonin production and lower serotonin levels. Lower serotonin levels lead to mood swings, feelings of depression, and halt the production of melatonin. This friend now has decreased levels of melatonin, and will struggle to find himself or herself tired at night, and won’t sleep enough at night, thus suffering from the affects of sleep deprivation too. Bone broth bypasses this whole scenario, and allows for healthy metabolism and circadian rhythms that promote health.