• Stacie Haaga

Don’t Toss the Bones: Reap the Health Benefits of Bone Broth

There’s a reason your mom gave you chicken soup when you were sick:  bone broth is rich in anti-inflammatory properties that support healing. 


But before you run out and grab a can of Campbell’s soup, you should know the benefits of making your own: 


  • No inflammatory junk ingredients

  • Easy-to-absorb source of protein

  • Rich in minerals important for energy and bone health

  • Gut healing collagen and gelatin

  • Nutrients that support digestive functions, immunity and joint health


Making your own bone broth is surprisingly easy and tastes SO much better than anything you’ll buy in the stores!  Not to mention you know exactly what you’re getting and have quality control. 


And if you’re still not convinced, here are a few reasons why you should make your own bone broth stock.



A Budget-friendly Source of Protein

Bone broth is a great source of protein and beneficial amino acids.  Prominent amino acids include arginine, glutamate, proline, and glycine. 


The possible benefits of these include:


  • Proline plays roles in building healthy collagen including the lining of our arteries and skin. It also helps build healthy cartilage.

  • Glycine plays roles in the synthesis of our DNA and RNA, hemoglobin, bile salts, stomach acid secretion, wound healing, and reducing inflammation.

  • Glutamine plays roles in gut health, immune health, liver health and detoxification, muscle-building, and brain health.

  • Arginine may be especially beneficial for fighting chronic inflammation.


It can be made from vegetable scraps and the leftover bones, skin and meat of any roast (chicken, turkey, beef and even fish).  It’s a great way to limit waste, especially since the bones can be used to make 2-3 batches of stock!  Save them in the freezer along with your veggie scraps and you can pull this together any time. 


One cup of broth has 10-20 g of protein and can be used as an ingredient or simply sipped! 


Bone Broth Nutrients

Bone broth is an excellent source of essential minerals, including electrolytes, all provided in an easy-to-absorb form. Electrolytes found within bone broth include calcium, magnesium and potassium. Other valuable nutrients include phosphorus, sulphur, chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, elastin.


Though there are differences depending on the type of bone used in broth, the marrow typically provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, minerals like zinc, iron, boron, manganese, and selenium, as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. 


Bone Broth for Gut Health

Believe it or not, bone broth helps with the growth of good bacteria in the gut, supports decreased inflammation levels in the digestive tract, and supports a healthy immune system.  


Healing “leaky gut” allows for better nutrient absorption and also helps keep particles from leaching out where they shouldn’t be.  Because  70% of our immune system is embedded in our gut wall, a compromised gut wall can often lead to complex autoimmune issues. 


As a rich source of gelatin, bone broth heals and seals the mucosal lining of the GI tract, specifically, glutamine has been found to be uniquely capable of supporting intestinal barrier function and helps to strengthen the small intestine.   


Glutamine has been reported to enhance intestinal and whole-body growth, to promote enterocyte proliferation and survival, and to regulate intestinal barrier function in injury, infection, weaning stress, and other catabolic conditions.


Bone Broth for Joint Health

Making bone broth with joints, chicken carcasses or other cartilaginous bones will result in a  bone broth with glucosaminoglycans (GAGS). GAGs – chondrotin, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid – are technically a type of carbobydrate that are used to maintain your connective tissue such as ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.


Consuming more glucosamine can help support joint health, flexibility and comfort. Chondroitin supports healthy inflammation response as well as cardiovascular health, bone health, skin health and healthy cholesterol levels.



Words of Caution

Can anyone enjoy bone broth?  Unfortunately not everyone will tolerate bone broth.


People with mast cell issues, histamine intolerance, or a glutamine or tyramine sensitivity may react to bone broth.  Because it’s slow-cooked over a long period, it is especially high in these amino acids which could provoke a response. 


If you suffer from histamine intolerance, I recommend cooking your bone broth for no longer than 2 hours. 


Those with SIBO may also find it’s better to use bone marrow bones and meat instead of cartilaginous bones (like a Turkey or chicken carcass) that are high in glucosaminoglycans. 


Other concerns include the lead content of animal bones. The risks that are associated with the ingestion of lead is minimal because the levels were within the range that is generally considered safe, if you have lead toxicity, it’s best to skip the bone broth.    


One way to reduce the possible lead content is to purchase pasture-raised birds that are fed a healthy, low-lead diet with a clean water source. 


Final Note

As with all things, bone broth is not a cure and it will not work miracles for any condition but it is a healthy food to include in your diet and a great way to re-use that Thanksgiving turkey or Sunday night roasted chicken!



 

TURKEY BONE BROTH RECIPE

  • 3 carrots

  • 2 stalks of celery

  • 1 onion

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • Cooked organic turkey bones and skin (can also use cooked chicken or beef bones)

  • 2 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 pinch of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the bones along with the veggies, apple cider vinegar, and salt into the base of the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or dutch oven. Fill the instant pot to the max line with filtered water (about 6-8 cups).

  2. If using instapot, push the soup button and manually change the time to 120 minutes. If using dutch oven, bring to a boil and decrease heat to a simmer for about 2 hours. Cook on low for 8 hours in the slow cooker.

  3. Allow the Instant Pot to depressurize naturally.

  4. Strain the broth with mesh sieve and store in ice cube trays, silicone molds and/or mason jars in the freezer. Note: Your broth should jiggle like gelatin when cooled. If you are sensitive to any of these ingredients, mix and match what works for you! Omit what you’re sensitive to and add extra of the ingredients that are safe.



Sources:


Bischoff, S. C., Barbara, G., Buurman, W., Ockhuizen, T., Schulzke, J. D., Serino, M., Tilg, H., Watson, A., & Wells, J. M. (2014). Intestinal permeability–a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC gastroenterology, 14, 189.


Frasca G, Cardile V, Puglia C, Bonina C, Bonina F. Gelatin tannate reduces the proinflammatory effects of lipopolysaccharide in human intestinal epithelial cells. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2012;5:61-7. doi: 10.2147/CEG.S28792. Epub 2012 May 8. 


Hsu DJ, Lee CW, Tsai WC, Chien YC. Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food Nutr Res. 2017 Jul 18;61(1):1347478


Siebecker, Allison. Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease. Diss. NCNM, 2004.


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 (Kaunas). 2021 Oct 20;57(11):1138.


Wang, B., Wu, G., Zhou, Z. et al. Glutamine and intestinal barrier function. Amino Acids47, 2143–2154 (2015).


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