Is Bone Broth Really Good for You?

Medically Reviewed on 12/8/2020

Bone broth is said to be a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and numerous other minerals
Bone broth is said to be a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and numerous other minerals

Bone broth is touted as a magic liquid, claiming to cure colds, arthritis, strengthen bones, and improve skin. However, there is no evidence of an advantage in consuming these amino acids and minerals from the bone broth as opposed to other foods. The research is still limited if drinking bone broth may improve overall health and wellness. Bone broth is said to be a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and numerous other minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. The actual breakdown of these minerals in bone broth is honestly quite small and variable, depending on the quality, type, and quantity of bone used. The advantages and disadvantages include:

Advantages:

  • Rich in protein: Bone broth is a rich source of protein if nothing else. The protein is required to build up the body tissues. It also helps us feel full.
  • It contains collagen: It is not only beneficial for the gut but also for your skin. It’s terrific for preventing premature wrinkles. Bone broth is made up of type 2 collagen, which is only found in animal bones and connective tissue. Type 2-collagen is a protein source that improves skin, teeth, and joint health (antiaging elixir). However, the body cannot absorb collagen in its intact form, hence this claim is dubious.
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties: Considered to be beneficial for people with inflammatory joint conditions, such as degenerative joint conditions (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and bursitis) but more studies are needed.
  • Beneficial especially for athletes: It helps in maintaining the health of the joints of athletes who have a lot of wear and tear on the joints. Bone broth is a natural source of proline and glycine, amino acids that aren’t readily available in other meat sources. These amino acids aid in tissue repair and the maintenance of lean muscle fibers, which help to recover after a heavy workout. It not only protective for joints but helps in faster healing.
  • Considered to be delicious, easy to cook, nourishing, and comfort food, especially during the flu period. Bone broth clears the congestion in the upper airways and helps in fighting the cold.
  • One of the primary reasons it is beneficial, aside from the fantastic collagen in there, is the minerals. It’s an exceptionally mineral-rich dish. The lining of the gut wall, in particular, as well as all our cells really need to be provided with adequate minerals to be able to carry out their enzyme functions and all their metabolic tasks daily. So, plenty of minerals are needed for tissue repair, maintenance, and function.
  • Bone broth is useful in leaky gut syndrome. The contents of the broth have a beneficial effect on the gut.
  • The glycine in bone broth may help to enhance sleep quality, especially when paired with magnesium and calcium.
  • Weight loss: The savory flavor of the broth may trick into feeling like they ate something heavier than they really did that can also aid in weight loss. Toss in a few low-calorie vegetables in there and it may feel even fuller due to fiber content.

Disadvantages: 

  • They are high in glutamate: Some people may be sensitive to this, which can manifest in many ways. It may cause anxiety in sensitive people, and in children, it may manifest behaviorally (e.g., agitation, anger outbursts, trouble sleeping, or insomnia). 
  • Animal bones are known to contain trace amounts of toxic metals along with minerals, when bone broth is cooked, they may be released, and a large amount of consumption may lead to side effects.
  • The amount of lead even in organic animal bones is around ten times higher than other sources, and cooking the bones for 4 hours to get will release lead from the bone, which will land in our bowls. Lead is toxic to all age groups.

How often should I drink bone broth?

There is not much scientific research regarding bone broth being a dietary supplement. Generally, one cup of bone broth a day is recommended as a part of a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet. Pick a time of day to enjoy bone broth and make it a daily habit. It can be safely kept in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. If it is cooked in a big batch of bone broth, freeze it in 3 to 4 cup portions to maintain an easily accessible supply.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/8/2020
References
Food Revolution Network. The Surprising Truth About Bone Broth. November 9, 2018. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/bone-broth-benefits/

Cleveland Clinic. Bone Broth: How to Make It — and Why You Should. February 26, 2020. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/bone-broth-tap-the-chef-see-why-its-for-you/

Harvard Health Publishing. What's the scoop on bone soup? September 2015. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/whats-the-scoop-on-bone-soup

Monro JA, Leon R, Puri BK. The Risk of Lead Contamination in Bone Broth Diets. Med Hypotheses. Published online January 31, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.12.026