The Science of Bone Broth: What Makes it So Good for You?

Bone broth is a fantastic way to improve your health. It is packed with essential minerals and nutrients that can help you boost your immune system, improve joint health, fight inflammation and promote digestive health. In this article, we will explore the science behind bone broth and find out why it is so good for you.

What is bone broth and where does it come from?

Bone broth is a nutrient-rich soup made from the bones and connective tissue of typically, beef and chicken. It is a popular dish in many cultures and has been used for centuries as a healing food.

The key to bone broth's health benefits lies in its high concentration of collagen and gelatin. These nutrients are essential for healthy skin, hair, nails, joints and gut health. They also help to reduce inflammation, repair damaged tissues and improve joint function.

Bone broth is also a good source of essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. These minerals are important for maintaining strong bones and teeth, boosting the immune system, regulating blood sugar levels and supporting hormones.

Bone broth being poured into a glass on a dark background

The health benefits of consuming bone broth

Here are some of the key benefits of bone broth:

  • Bone broth is high in minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium. These minerals are essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
  • Excellent source of collagen, glucosamine, glutamine and chondroitin sulphate. These molecules all help to build and maintain connective tissue, skin, hair and nails.
  • Collagen is made up of a combination of amino acids, including glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and glutamine.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate are essential for maintaining healthy joints.
  • Glucosamine helps to rebuild cartilage while chondroitin sulphate helps to absorb fluid in the joints, which reduces inflammation
  • Glutamine helps heal the gut lining (closes gap junctions) and promotes healthy digestion.
  • Glycine helps to regulate the production of cytokines, which are important for the immune response.
  • Proline is needed for the production of white blood cells, which are important for fighting infection 

So, if you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious way to improve your health, consider bone broth as part of your everyday eating.

The science behind why bone broth is so good for you

Sure, the individual components of bone broth can and should be celebrated for their incredible health benefits. But what about the research on bone broth itself, as a superfood? It turns out there’s some cool research on bone broth including why we should be including it in the diet. 

Bone broth in a saucepan on a wooden background

Bone broth helps reduce migraines and stress

It appears that bone broth could be a therapeutic remedy for migraines and stress headaches. 

A study from the Journal of Medicinal Food evaluated the neuroprotective effects of chicken bone broth. The researchers found that daily bone broth consumption helped reduce the onset and severity of migraine pain and headaches that were historically due to severe stress. According to these results, bone broth may well be a novel approach to the treatment of migraines.

Bone broth is an important therapeutic food for digestive health

A study by Mar-Solís et al. (2021) found that the nutrients in bone broth had potent anti-inflammatory properties, reducing ulcerative colitis symptoms. This condition is an inflammatory bowel disease that manifests with abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea, weight loss, and fatigue. Chronically, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies and is linked to other autoimmune conditions. 

This study found that bone broth caused a significant reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn lessened uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. It’s theorised that the gelatin, which is high in glutamine acts to protect and repair the cells in the gut lining. Importantly, this helps reduce systemic inflammation and allergy responses in the digestive tract.

Bone broth in a bowl with vegetable ingredients

How to make your own bone broth

Sure, bone broth is easy enough to buy these days. I do that quite often. However, the yield you can get when you make it yourself is always much better - and well worth the effort. 

Bone broth is made by simmering bones in water for an extended period of time. This breaks down the collagen and minerals in the bone matrix and releases them into the liquid. The resulting broth is packed with nutrients that can provide a range of health benefits.

Bone broth can be consumed on its own or added to soups, stews and other dishes. It is a healthy and delicious way to boost your overall health.

Making your own bone broth is easy. In my opinion, the most luxurious, gelatinous bone broth is made with beef bones. However, if you’re a newbie, or if the idea of handling bones and meat in large quantities seems overwhelming, try it with chicken instead.  

There's no technical skills required. Just time and loving patience!

Article References

Cruzat, V., Macedo Rogero, M., Noel Keane, K., Curi, R., & Newsholme, P. (2018). Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients10(11), 1564.

Kim, M. H., & Kim, H. (2017). The Roles of Glutamine in the Intestine and Its Implication in Intestinal Diseases. International journal of molecular sciences18(5), 1051.

Mar-Solís, L. M., Soto-Domínguez, A., Rodríguez-Tovar, L. E., Rodríguez-Rocha, H., García-García, A., Aguirre-Arzola, V. E., Zamora-Ávila, D. E., Garza-Arredondo, A. J., & Castillo-Velázquez, U. (2021). Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania)57(11), 1138.

Monro, J. A., Leon, R., & Puri, B. K. (2013). The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. Medical hypotheses80(4), 389–390.

Peterson, O. J., Cornelison, L. E., & Durham, P. L. (2020). Neuroprotective Effect of Enriched Chicken Bone Broth as a Dietary Supplement in a Model of Migraine Mediated by Early Life Stress. Journal of medicinal food23(12), 1259–1265.