The consumption of bone broth has become widely used by consumers due to its nutrient profile and health claims. But is it worth the hype? Here’s what science has to say about the health benefits of bone broth.
The internet has gone crazy over bone broth in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. People have reported that drinking it can reduce joint pain, improve sleep quality, decrease inflammation, support immune health and even alleviate some osteoarthritis symptoms.
While this may sound like a miracle drink, are there any scientific facts to back it up? Let’s see what research has to say.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is an edible, liquid form of nutrients extracted from animal bones and connective tissues. A combination of an acid (like vinegar) with boiling water is used to extract these nutrients from bones and connective tissues, as the acidic solution optimizes the nutrient profile found in bones . This process hydrolyzes the protein, such as collagen, that is embedded in bones .
You can make bone broth using bones from just about any animal — pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, chicken, or fish.
Health Benefits of Bone Broth
With its increasing prevalence in home pantries and diets, many people have been jumping on the bone broth train. But does it live up to the hype? Let’s explore what science has to say about its health benefits.
Boost Bone and Joint Health
Bone broth packs a powerful protein punch; it has 9 g in one serving, and bovine bone broth has been shown to have 74% of protein within its contents .
Bone broth is also rich in collagen, a protein that makes up the majority of our bones and connective tissues, and can be beneficial for joints, bones, and muscles. Collagen has been also shown to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness.
Furthermore, research suggests that consuming bone broth can increase bioavailability of amino acids such as glycine and proline .
May Promote Gut Health
Emerging evidence suggests that bone broth consumption may have substantial gut health benefits, since the amino acids in bone broth may help alleviate the inflammation in the colon and limit symptoms related to ulcerative colitis .
Researchers have found that certain GI disorders (like ulcerative colitis) can be associated with a lack of amino acids in the gut. Without these amino acids, intestinal mucosa is not able to provide proper gut motility [3,5,6]. As such, people with ulcerative colitis may experience symptoms such as irregular bowel movements, gastrointestinal distress, or even weight loss .
Studies have also found that the gelatin in bone broth supports healthy digestion. As such, it may be beneficial for individuals with leaky gut, as well as irritable and inflammatory bowel diseases .
Can Help Fight Inflammation
Researchers suggest that the amino acids present in bone broth may help fight inflammation .
While some inflammation is necessary for your body, chronic inflammation is the heart of many diseases, such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, and many types of cancer. While you can reduce inflammation through diet and exercise, you may want to consider adding bone broth in your menu rotation.
May Aid in Weight Loss
Bone broth may be beneficial for weight loss, thanks to its low calorie content and high protein count. The latter has been long associated with increased satiety, which may in turn help improve appetite control, increase weight loss, and maintain lean muscle mass .
How to Enjoy Bone Broth
Similar to traditional chicken, beef, and vegetable broth, bone broth can be used to make soups and sauces. You can also add bone broth to your smoothies, mashed potatoes, desserts, or even drink it on its own. And since bone broth also contains electrolytes, it could be a great post-workout treat for those who want to level up their performance and enhance recovery.
You can store bone broth in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it in individual containers and heat up as desired. If you are not up for the task of making homemade bone broth, our favorite brands to buy are Kettle & Fire and FOND.
Bone broth has become a product of interest among many health-conscious individuals, and for good reason! Research suggests that consuming bone broth may lead to positive effects in bone and joint health, gut function, inflammation, and weight loss. You can reap the benefits of bone broth by enjoying it in soups, smoothies, sauces or even on its own.
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- Daneault A, Coxam V, Wittrant Y. Biological effect of hydrolyzed collagen on bone metabolism. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2015:00-00. doi:10.1080/10408398.2015.1038377
- Mar-Solís LM, Soto-Domínguez A, Rodríguez-Tovar LE, Rodríguez-Rocha H, García-García A, Aguirre-Arzola VE, Zamora-Ávila DE, Garza-Arredondo AJ, Castillo-Velázquez U. Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis. Medicina. 2021; 57(11):1138. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57111138
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- Achamrah, N., Déchelotte, P., & Coëffier, M. (2017). Glutamine and the regulation of intestinal permeability: from bench to bedside. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 20(1), 86–91. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0000000000000339
- Razak, M. A., Begum, P. S., Viswanath, B., & Rajagopal, S. (2017). Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2017, 1716701. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1716701
- Leidy, H. J., Clifton, P. M., Astrup, A., Wycherley, T. P., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., Woods, S. C., & Mattes, R. D. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 101(6), 1320S–1329S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.084038 bon