If you experience digestive problems, autoimmune illness, or chronic allergies, you might be familiar with research on the health benefits of bone broth and its potential to offer relief. Bone broth has been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years. And it is among the most nutrient-rich healing foods you can consume.
Bone broth is made from animal parts that (in modern times) are often thrown away. These include bones and marrow, connective tissues, feet and other “bits” that may have you wrinkling your nose.
But as you will see, there are significant health benefits to adding bone broth to your diet. And due to its unique composition, it is impossible to get these benefits from any other food!
Let’s explore how this amazing ancestral superfood works in your body and how it can improve your health (and looks!) – starting with your very first cup.
#1 – GET YOUTHFUL-LOOKING SKIN, HAIR, AND NAILS
Bone broth is rich in collagen – the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen is found in skin, muscle, tendons, and bones. It provides the strength and structure that holds your body together.
Collagen is also referred to as “the beauty protein” for its ability to stave off the telltale signs of aging: loose, wrinkled, discolored, and sagging skin.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology) studied women aged 35 to 55 years. One group was given 2.5 grams or 5.0 grams of either collagen hydrolysate (CH) or a placebo, once daily for 8 weeks.
These were the results:
“At the end of the study, skin elasticity in both CH dosage groups showed a statistically significant improvement in comparison to placebo. After 4 weeks of follow-up treatment, a statistically significantly higher skin elasticity level was determined in elderly women.”[i]
Hollywood is even getting on board with this ancestral beauty superfood. Julia March, a bone broth advocate and well-known celebrity skin therapist says:
“My clients see less inflammation, more glow and more toned skin when they drink it. It repairs, strengthens, rejuvenates and heals.”
#2 – ENHANCE DETOXIFICATION AND INFUSE YOUR BODY WITH NUTRIENTS
Bone broth is rich in a wide variety of nutrients, including the simplest of all amino acids, glycine.
Glycine is considered “non-essential” because it can be produced by the body. But when it comes to detoxification, glycine is absolutely essential. In fact, without enough, your liver struggles to do its job.
That’s because glycine is one of several starting compounds needed to make glutathione (the body’s most powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent). Glutathione is made up of just three amino acids bonded together – glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. And while it is a small and simple molecule, its function in the body is extremely diverse… and vital.
In fact, glutathione is so essential that more than 89,000 medical articles have been written about it!
This amazing substance is an essential part of your liver’s ability to detoxify the blood.
Glutathione also works its healing magic is by recharging other antioxidants in your body, including vitamin C, vitamin E and lipoic acid. Without glutathione, free radicals would overwhelm your antioxidant defenses and cause rapid physical deterioration.[ii]
In addition to its supportive role in the production of glutathione, bone broth is also rich in important minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous. These are critical to your circulatory and nervous systems, energy production and the maintenance of strong, healthy bones.
#3 – EASE CHRONIC DIGESTIVE ISSUES
If you’re living with chronic digestive issues such as frequent abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea, a Bone broth diet may help relieve these problems.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride made bone broth and meat stock the foundation of the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) protocol due to its ability to help seal and heal the gut lining while reducing the overgrowth of harmful microbes.
The healing compounds in bone broth not only help seal gaps in your gut’s lining, they also strengthen mucus membranes that may have been damaged due to food sensitivities or chronic gastrointestinal distress.
#4 – BOLSTER THE IMMUNE SYSTEM & BENEFIT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
Millions of people live with one or more autoimmune conditions. This means that instead of protecting you against harmful bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, your immune system mistakes your own healthy tissues and cells for foreign invaders and destroys them instead.
There is something known as the “triangle” of autoimmune triggers. The three factors that form the trifecta are: Genetics, Environment and Gut Dysbiosis. And let’s take a closer look, so you can see how effective a bone broth diet can for those with an autoimmune condition.
THE ROLE OF GENETICS IN AUTOIMMUNITY
Genetics play a significant role in the development of autoimmune illness. However, just because you are predisposed doesn’t mean you will develop an autoimmune disorder. Two equally important factors in the “triangle” are also at play.
Bone broth is a good source of the amino acid, glycine. This is important, because glycine triggers the creation of new DNA molecules. It also appears to reverse DNA damage, making it a prime candidate for slowing or even reversing the progression of chronic disease.
According to a study published in Scientific Reports, adding glycine for 10 days to the culture medium of a 97-year-old fibroblast (connective tissue) cell line restored its respiratory function! This result suggests that glycine may help repair damaged fibroblasts of elderly individuals.[iii]
If this is the case, imagine what other amazing feats this amino acid in bone broth may be capable of performing!
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS IN AUTOIMMUNITY
Environmental factors are the second component in the development of autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, our modern world a toxic soup and we can’t help but bathe in it. This is why more people like you and me are turning to natural detoxification and healing methods – to undo the continual damage done by our environment.
Bone broth can help restore a healthy gut. In turn, this can help prevent the occurrence of autoimmune conditions and it can be an effective remedy for those already existing.
GUT DYSBIOSIS IN AUTOIMMUNITY
A bone broth diet can help reverse gut dysbiosis (an abnormally high level of bad bacteria in the gut) and leaky gut syndrome.
With leaky gut, food particles, bacteria and endotoxins (especially lipopolysaccharides, or LPS[iv]) leak into the bloodstream. The immune system identifies these compounds as foreign invaders and initiates an attack. This can lead to chronic inflammation, the development of food intolerances and allergies, digestive disturbances and harm to the immune system itself.
By healing and sealing the gut, inflammation and autoimmune flare-ups can be halted and the immune system can rebalance.
#5 – HEAL ALLERGIES
When you start wheezing, sneezing, and itching the summer months away, it’s important to remember that allergies are not necessarily a medical condition. Often, they are a symptom of another condition: leaky gut.
Consuming bone broth can help to heal your gut and reduce systemic inflammation. This can dial back allergy symptoms while improving your overall health.
#6 – REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Chronic inflammation is one of the most common causes of the modern epidemic of chronic illness. These include heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, and even cancer.
According to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology:
“These results suggest that gelatin tannate exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the specific cytokines and adhesion molecules involved in several inflammatory disorders.”[v]
#7 – EASE CHRONIC PAIN
Osteoarthritis affects millions of people worldwide. This degenerative condition has been shown to respond well to collagen treatment, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
According to the study authors, the group treated with a collagen supplement made from an extract of chicken cartilege had a significant reduction in pain and significant improvements in physical activities compared to the placebo group.
Collagen is provided in abundance in a cup of rich, soothing bone broth.[vi]
#8 – IMPROVE SLEEP (WITHOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS OF OTC OR RX SLEEPING PILLS)
The amino acid, glycine has also been shown to improve sleep without the side effects of over-the-counter or prescription medications.
According to a study published in Sleep and Biological Rhythms, human volunteers who ingested three grams of glycine before bedtime enjoyed improved quality of sleep. It was also noted that glycine supplementation reduced daytime sleepiness and even improved performance on memory recognition tasks![vii]
#9 – REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
The gelatin in a bone broth diet can also help regulate blood sugar levels naturally by helping to remove glucose from the blood. From a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
“… Oral glycine stimulates the secretion of a gut hormone that potentiates the effect of insulin on glucose removal from the circulation.”[viii]
#10 – BOOST MOOD AND EASE ANXIETY
The bone broth diet can also be very good for your mental health.
Glycine is considered an “inhibitory neurotransmitter” and has similar actions to anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications. Because of this, it can boost calmness and mental clarity by reducing stress hormones (like norepinephrine) and increasing calming hormones (like GABA).[ix]
And as we have stated previously, the bones from land animals are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
From an article published in Magnesium Research:
“The efficacy of Mg in the treatment of anxiety in the mildly anxious and those reporting premenstrual syndrome-related anxiety is suggestive of a beneficial effect of Mg intake.”[x]
According to another study, low-grade inflammation, reduced antioxidant levels, and leaky gut are all associated with the development of mood disorders.[xi] And a bone broth diet can help address all of these factors at once!
By Kelly Herring
[i] Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55.
[ii] Nuttall S, Martin U, Sinclair A, Kendall M. 1998. Glutathione: in sickness and in health. The Lancet 351(9103):645-646
[iii] Osamu Hashizume, Sakiko Ohnishi, Takayuki Mito, Akinori Shimizu, Kaori Iashikawa, Kazuto Nakada, Manabu Soda, Hiroyuki Mano, Sumie Togayachi, Hiroyuki Miyoshi, Keisuke Okita, Jun-Ichi Hayashi. Epigenetic regulation of the nuclear-coded GCAT and SHMT2 genes confers human age-associated mitochondrial respiration defects. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 10434 DOI: 10.1038/srep10434
[iv] Fairweather, D., Rose, N. Women and Autoimune Disease. Emerging Infectious Diseases. CDC. Vol 10, No. 11. November 2004.
[v] Frasca, G., Cardile, V., Puglia, C., Bonina, C., & Bonina, F. (2012). Gelatin tannate reduces the proinflammatory effects of lipopolysaccharide in human intestinal epithelial cells. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology, 5, 61–67. http://doi.org/10.2147/CEG.S28792
[vi] Schauss AG, Stenehjem J, Park J, Endres JR, Clewell A. Effect of the novel low molecular weight hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract, BioCell Collagen, on improving osteoarthritis-related symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(16):4096-101.
[vii] Yamadera W, Inagawa K, Chiba S, Bannai M, Takahashi M, Nakayama K. Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. 2007;(5):126-131.
[viii] Gannon MC, Nuttall JA, Nuttall FQ. The metabolic response to ingested glycine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(6):1302-7.
[ix] Dale Purves, George J Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, Lawrence C Katz, Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, James O McNamara, and S Mark Williams. GABA and Glycine. Neuroscience. 2nd Edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. ISBN-10: 0-87893-742-0
[x] Boyle NB, Lawton CL, Dye L. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety. Magnes Res. 2016;29(3):120-125.
[xi] De melo LGP, Nunes SOV, Anderson G, et al. Shared metabolic and immune-inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways in the metabolic syndrome and mood disorders. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2017;