A Bone To Pick With: All You Need To Know About The Benefits Of Bone Broth

Written by Varsha Patnaik

Bone broth has been used by humans for nearly thousands of years. Hunters in the stone-age would boil the bones, ligaments, and other parts of their prey that otherwise could not be easily eaten. Nowadays, bone broth is becoming rapidly popular among fitness enthusiasts and has managed to find its way into the recipes of keto and paleo diets. Bone broth is also being recommended in the diets of patients suffering from autism and ADHD (1). Let us find out how bone broth benefits us.

Bone broth is used by chefs in restaurants in the preparation of soups, gravies, and a wide variety of dishes. Your mom probably has a jar of bone broth kept handy in your refrigerator which she uses when she makes her special soup that leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Let us now look at the health benefits of bone broth.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Bone Broth?

Bone broth is a delicious protein-rich soupy kind of liquid that you get from boiling the bones of animals. It is known to have many health benefits by its use in traditional medicine and home remedies. However, due to the lack of sufficient clinical trials and studies these benefits have not been fully substantiated. Here are a few potential health benefits of consuming bone broth.

  •  Source Of Amino Acids

Bone broths contain an amino acid called glutamine that is responsible for maintaining the water level of your cells and is responsible for enhancing the regeneration of cells and improving your gut health (2). Amino acids are the microscopic molecules that are present in your body that combine to form the various proteins that help your body break down food.

It is important to note that while bone broth does contain amino acids, it cannot be treated as the go-to source. Studies have shown that when bone broth is prepared using a standard recipe, the concentration levels of amino acids such as proline, and glycine that are inherently available in bone broth were found to be low. However, levels of the presence of these amino acids increased when bone broth was prepared in cafes and restaurants (2).

  •  Aids Digestion And Improves Gut Health

Bone broth is made by stewing bones on simmer for a long time. This results in the release of proteins that give the bone broth its meaty taste and release macronutrients such as actin and gelatin (3).

Actin is an essential molecule that is present in your body and is responsible for the contraction and expansion of your involuntary muscles such as your intestines, stomach, and blood vessels (4). Actin helps in better absorption of the nutrients and improves your gut health by increasing its ability to absorb nutrients in a much better way (5). Along with actin, gelatin is another protein that is derived from collagen that is found in bone broth. This protein may be responsible for improving your bone mineral density and nutrition (6).

  •  May Help In Improving Immunity

When you’re down with a fever or flu, your go-to food is a nice warm bowl of chicken soup made with chicken bone broth that makes you feel better. Does that mean that chicken soup can cure fever? The answer is no. There is not enough scientific evidence to prove that chicken soup does that. But when you break down the ingredients that go into making chicken soup, you will notice that all of the ingredients combined are good for your immune system.

The bone marrow present in chicken bones that are used to make the broth contains high levels of an amino acid called proline. Proline plays a major role in synthesizing the proteins in your body, regulating metabolism, healing your wounds, and improving your immunity(7). Considering that soup is mostly liquid, it is easier to consume when the fever reduces your appetite. It also contains electrolytes that help you in staying hydrated.

Glutamine that is present in bone broth helps in acting as a barrier against the various toxins and allergens and helps keep your intestinal lining intact. This, in turn, helps in preventing numerous gastrointestinal diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and enterocolitis (8).

  •  May Improve Skin And Joint Health

The collagen present in the bone broth may help in improving the health of your skin and joints. Collagen is essential in keeping the elasticity of your skin as you age and also protects your skin from UV photodamage. Studies showed that the aging of the skin, wrinkles, lines, and dehydration of the skin was significantly reduced when collagen in the form of soup made from the bones and cartilage of chicken was consumed (9).

Another study suggests that collagen in young adults helps in improving the functioning of your joints and may also alleviate joint pain (10).

  •  May Help In Improving Sleep

The amino acid glycine which is present in bone broth is known to have a wide variety of health benefits such as being helpful in detoxification and being anti-inflammatory (11). It also is known to help control diabetes and the complications that are caused by it and help promote sleep (12).

Did you ever imagine that something as simple as boiling bones, making broth, and drinking it could have so many health benefits? Let us look at the nutritional values of bone broth.

Nutritional Values Of Bone Broth

Bone broths are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus being present in large quantities. These minerals are naturally available in bones. In addition, bone broth made from the bones of beef contains amino acids that are essential for your body. Beef bone broth especially is a rich source of iron that helps in fighting anemia (13).

Here are the nutritional details of bone broth.

Nutritional Values Of Bone Broth Per 100ml (14):

Name

Amount

Unit

Energy

51

kcal

Protein

3.8

g

Total Fat

2.95

g

Carbohydrates

1.69

g

Dietary Fiber

0.4

g

Total Sugar

0.42

g

Calcium

17

mg

Iron

0.46

mg

Sodium

165

mg

Vitamin C

2.5

mg

Vitamin A

316

UI

Saturated Fats

0.84

g

Trans Fats

0

g

Cholesterol

15

mg

While meat lovers enjoy the nice and tasty bone broth, what about vegetarians? Let us find out if there is an alternative for vegetarians.

What About A Broth For Vegetarians?

Is there a broth for vegetarians that is as good as the bone broth? Well yes, there is! And it’s not difficult to make it either. All you need are vegetables that you use on a regular basis and that you can easily find in your kitchen or your local supermarket.

Making A Simple Vegetable Broth

Here is a quick and simple vegetarian broth that you can make with the least amount of ingredients and tastes oh so good!

Ingredients Required

  •  500 gms celery
  •  1.5kg onion
  •  500 gm chopped carrots
  •  500gm of tomato with their pits removed
  •  500 gm chopped green capsicum
  •  500 gm diced turnips
  •  2 tbsp of olive oil
  •  3 cloves of garlic
  •  3- 4 cloves
  •  1 bay leaf
  •  6-8 whole black peppercorns
  •  1 bunch of freshly chopped parsley
  •  4.5 liters of water
  •  1 large pot for cooking
  •  1 colander or sieve

Preparation

  1.  Preheat your oven to 230℃ or 450℉.
  2.  Remove the tender parts and leaves of the celery and keep them aside.
  3.  In an oven-safe tray, toss the onions, carrots, tomatoes, capsicum, and turnips with olive oil and place the tray in the oven. Stir these vegetables every 15 minutes. Cook until all the vegetables have become brown and the onions begin to caramelize. This should take about an hour.
  4.  Once the vegetables have been browned, add them to the large pot along with the celery, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, and parsley, and add 4.5 liters of water.
  5.  Bring this mixture to a full boil and then reduce the flame to simmer and cover the pot.
  6.  Cook until the liquid is reduced to half of its original quantity.
  7.  Once the liquid has been reduced to half, pour the broth through a colander or sieve into another container. Voila! Your tasty and healthy vegetarian broth is ready! You can consume this immediately or store it for later use.

The vegetables that remain in the sieve need not be added to the broth, you can eat them instead of wasting them.

Now that you have your bone broth and your vegetable broth, are you wondering…..

Is There Any Scientific Evidence To Prove Bone Broth Is Better Than Other Broths?

There is no scientific evidence to claim or even suggest that bone broth is better than other broths. Whether it is bone broth or vegetable broth, the ingredients that go into making these broths are almost the same. When you add your favorite vegetables to your bone broth for flavoring, the nutrients from those vegetables are absorbed into your broth.

Broths, be it vegetable-based or bone-based, are good for your health as we have discussed all throughout this article. It comes down to your personal choice, whether you prefer a vegetarian option or a non-vegetarian, and everything else is insignificant.

How Much Bone Broth Should You Drink Daily?

There isn’t a definite answer to how much bone broth you should be drinking on a daily basis. It is not essential like water that quenches your thirst, hydrates you, and keeps all your organs functioning smoothly. It is more of a lifestyle choice and dietary supplement that you incorporate into your fitness routine. It also depends on your fitness goals and the kind of diet you have chosen for yourself.

If you are interested in gaining muscle and losing weight, there is a specific diet that has been prescribed to you by your dietician or nutritionist. Consult with them as to how much bone broth is required for you based on your body composition.

If you are on a keto or paleo diet, check with your dietician to see if you need to include bone broth in your diet and how much and how frequently you need to drink it.

While the health benefits of bone broth are undoubtedly great, let us find out if there are any side effects to drinking bone broth? Let’s find out.

Does Bone Broth Have Side Effects?

This protein-rich bone broth is a great inclusion in your diet regimen, especially when you are looking to improve your health. However, certain foods tend to react a bit differently with our bodies and may have some side effects. It is not often that you come across the side effects caused by bone broth. Nevertheless, it is essential for you to know that bone broth may cause the following side effects (15).

  •  May cause indigestion
  •  May cause headaches
  •  May leads to an increase in heart rate
  •  May cause abnormal sweating
  •  May cause swelling in your hands and feet
  •  May cause dryness in the mouth and excessive sneezing

All of these side effects may be caused due to the adverse reaction of glutamine or histamine that is present in the bone broth. Which could mean that you have glutamic acid sensitivity or your body is intolerant to histamine. Glutamic acid is an amino acid that is abundantly present in your body. It is responsible for maintaining the metabolism and integrity of your cells. Since bone broth also contains glutamic acid in high quantities, it may overwhelm your body and may cause the aforementioned side effects (15).

Another reason why you could possibly face these side effects is if you have histamine intolerance. This is caused due to imbalance of the accumulated histamine or the inability of your body to break down histamine (16). Since bone broth has high levels of histamine, consuming this in large quantities may cause histamine intolerance.

Now you know the benefits and side effects of bone broth, and how adding bone broth to your soup can accentuate its flavors. But, for all you vegetarians out there who love a good soup, you must be wondering if there is a non-meat, vegan or vegetarian alternative to bone broth?

To sum up, bone broth is a delicious, protein-rich liquid that is made from boiling bones and connective tissue of chicken, beef, fish, duck, or any animal for that matter. You can add your favorite vegetables and herbs to season it according to your taste or have it as is. While there are benefits of bone broth, it also has a few side effects that are caused uncommonly due to histamine intolerance and glutamic acid sensitivity. Broths, in general, are good for you, be it vegetarian or bone broth. The frequency and quantity of bone broth is subjective to each person based on their fitness goals and the diet they follow.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Essential And Toxic Metals In Animal Bone Broths
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5533136/
  2. Bone Broth Unlikely to Provide Reliable Concentrations of Collagen Precursors Compared With Supplemental Sources of Collagen Used in Collagen Research
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29893587/
  3. Identification And Characterization Of The Proteins In Broth Of Stewed Traditional Chinese Yellow-Feathered Chickens
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579119310594
  4. The Cell: A Molecular Approach. 2nd Edition.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9961/
  5. Microvilli Give Gut Vesicles The Brush-Off
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2712953/
  6. Ingestion Of Gelatin Has Differential Effect On Bone Mineral Density And Body Weight In Protein Under Nutrition
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11987523_Ingestion_of_Gelatin_Has_Differential_Effect_on_Bone_Mineral_Density_and_Body_Weight_in_Protein_Undernutrition
  7. Proline And Hydroxyproline Metabolism: Implications For Animal And Human Nutrition
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3773366/
  8. Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4369670/
  9. Ingestion Of Biocell Collagen(®) A Novel Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal Cartilage Extract; Enhanced Blood Microcirculation And Reduced Facial Aging Signs
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22956862/
  10. Improvement Of Activity-Related Knee Joint Discomfort Following Supplementation Of Specific Collagen Peptides
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28177710/
  11. Beneficial Effects Of The Amino Acid Glycine
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303951608_Beneficial_Effects_of_the_Amino_Acid_Glycine
  12. Dietary Glycine Is Rate-Limiting for Glutathione Synthesis and May Have Broad Potential for Health Protection
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5855430/
  13. The Daily Value Of Micronutrients In Newly Produced Beef And Horse Concentrated Bone Broth
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328226707_The_daily_value_of_micronutrients_in_newly_produced_beef_and_horse_concentrated_bone_broths
  14. Nutritional Values Of Bone Broth
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/551729/nutrients
  15. Side Effects of Long-Term Glutamine Supplementation
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230879692_Side_Effects_of_Long-Term_Glutamine_Supplementation
  16. Histamine and histamine intolerance
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17490952/
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