What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a delicious and convenient way to get your daily dose of collagen. It’s been around for hundreds of years, but lately the trend of drinking bone broth has caught on with those looking for the same benefits a collagen supplement will provide, as well as vital minerals.
Bone broth is a mineral rich infusion made by slow cooking the bones of healthy pasture raised animals. It has deeply nourishing and many healing properties that are missing from modern diets. First up the bones contain proteins. In fact they contain close to 50% protein by volume and that number goes up once you factor in all the connective tissue that is attached to them.
Is Bone Broth the same as regular stock?
No it is not. There are two main differences between bone broth and regular broth or stock: simmering time and the part of the animal it's made from (bones or flesh).
Regular broth and stock are simmered for a much shorter period of time than bone broth. The faster cooking process reduces the amount of beneficial gelatin extracted from the bones, limiting its ability to support the immune and digestive systems.
Why our broth
Our beef bone broth powders comes in 4 delicious flavours, which can be consumed alone or it can be incorporated into any meal as a base ingredient. Add some vegetables and protein for a quick and easy soup or add to stews, casseroles and risotto recipes.
Why Is Collagen So Important?
Glycine is the primary amino acid found in collagen. And it’s a pretty significant amino acid in terms of what it does for the body. Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning our body can synthesize it. However, it’s actually considered “conditionally essential,” as it’s synthesized from the amino acid serine at only about 3 grams per day—not nearly enough for our requirements.
The human body requires at least 10 grams per day for basic metabolic processes, so we have a pretty significant daily deficit that we need to get through dietary or supplement means. Most of us these days aren’t eating ligaments and tendons and tougher cuts of meat containing glycine.
Bone broth contains approximately 27.2 grams of glycine per 100 grams of protein. Therefore, it makes for a great source of this amino acid. Rather than taking an isolated glycine supplement, bone broth contains glycine with other amino acids and minerals, which act synergistically with each other. Here are a few of the benefits glycine offers….
Bone Broth Offers Gut Healing Properties
Glycine improves our digestive health, through inhibiting cytokines, thus decreasing inflammation in the gut lining. Glycine helps with sealing the mucosal layer in the intestines. It aids in liver detoxification, and helps with fructose malabsorption.
It Improves Joint Health
Contrary to what you might have heard, these non-essential proteins are pretty darn useful. A study was done on a hundred women between the ages of 40 and 70 who presented with knee joint pain or discomfort. (PDF) The results suggested that collagen increases the proteoglycan content in knee cartilage after 6 months of treatment. We need at least 10 grams of glycine each day for basic metabolic processes. One of those processes is the maintenance of the collagen in our body (the most abundant protein we carry, in fact).
Collagen concentrates where joints meet and in the connective tissue binding us together. Those 10 grams of glycine is just for maintenance, not repairing tissue after injury, or recovery from intense lifting. If you lift heavy, or are recovering from any sort of joint damage, supplementary collagen will improve your recovery.
It Can Help Keep Skin Supple
Research suggests collagen may act as a biological messenger, triggering the synthesis of new collagen fibers and extracellular matrix recognition by stimulating fibroblasts.
It Restores Glutathione
Glutathione protects against oxidative stress, and helps decrease the impact of bad estrogens that can build up over time, compromising our hormonal health.
It May Improve Cognition
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play a significant role in learning and memory. Targeting the glycine modulatory site of the NMDA receptor has been suggested as a therapeutic strategy to improve cognition. Glycine is considered an “inhibitory neurotransmitter,” and can act in the brain similarly to an antidepressant, without all the side effects.
It Can Improve Sleep Quality
It does this by decreasing core body temperature and increasing cutaneous blood flow. Cooler body temp means deeper sleep. One of my go-to sleep aids is a big mug of bone broth about an hour before bed. It always knocks me out (in a good, non-narcotic way). And according to research, I’m not making this up or suffering from placebo. Human studies show that 3 grams of glycine taken before bed increases the quality of your sleep and reduces day time sleepiness following sleep restriction. Sipping bone broth before bed provides a bioavailable source of glycine, helping us achieve deeper, more restorative sleep at night.
Other Key Nutrients in Bone Broth
Cartilage: the Home of Chondroitin and Glucosamine
When is the last time you felt the urge to chew on a juicy piece of cartilage? Probably not so much. We tend to discard those parts of the animal containing cartilage like the nose, ears, and joints. However, joint cartilage is easily broken down in well-cooked bone broth. Cartilage contains collagen protein and elastin. Elastin fibers play a big role in maintaining the integrity, elasticity, and the mechanical properties of cartilage.
Cartilage also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, both well known supplements for arthritic pain, particularly in the knees. In this study, glucosamine–chondroitin combined resulted in a statistically significant reduction in joint space narrowing at two years. Seeing as how those supplements get the chondroitin sulfate directly from animal cartilage, why not just eat the cartilage, or a bone broth made with plenty of cartilaginous substrate? Be sure to use bones with joints, like chicken feet and beef knuckles. Chicken backs are also a great source of chondroitin and glucosamine.
Bone Marrow: Deep in the Inner Matrix of the Bone
Bone marrow, found deep in the center of the bone, is also worth noting. There are two types: red bone marrow and yellow bone marrow. Yellow bone marrow is higher in fat cells, whereas red bone marrow is higher in platelets. Red bone marrow contains reticulin fibers, or type III collagen. Chicken bones have higher red marrow and make for a more flavorful broth. Bone marrow is fatty and gelatinous, and the marrow contains most of the minerals. Cooking bones longer (24-36 hours) will yield more of those minerals into the broth.
Bone Marrow Fat Is More Than Just Fat
A University of Michigan-led study shows that the fat tissue in bone marrow is a significant source of a hormone called adiponectin. These researchers discovered that the adiponectin in bone marrow helps with insulin sensitivity, and has been linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity-associated cancers.
Hyaluronic Acid: slippery synovial lubricant
Sure you can get powdered gelatins, but these do not contain many of the valuable nutrients that work synergistically with gelatin, such as hyaluronic acid. Found in many high end beauty serums, hyaluronic acid is the main component in synovial fluid, acting as a joint lubricant. You can also find hyaluronic acid in the bones and the connective tissue (usually attached to the bones). This study compared hyaluronic acid with NSAIDs for knee osteoarthritis. Both worked about the same, but hyaluronic acid is a safer alternative.
Proline: another noteworthy amino acid in bone broth
Let’s not ignore proline. Proline forms the structure of collagen, and like glycine, is a “conditionally essential” amino acid that we can get through our diet. To the point, it’s found in bone broth. Proline is needed to build collagen, to increase collagen synthesis in human fibroblast cells. As a result, it’s an important amino acid for skin health. Proline is great for healing, especially after intense workouts or straining the body. Animal studies suggest that proline helps with skin wound healing. People recovering from injuries have a higher need for proline. And don’t forget, heavy lifting is a stress to the body that requires recovery.
What about Minerals?
Bone broth can be high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium—with one caveat.
Recent research showed that bones cooked for more than eight hours were found not to exceed low tenths of a milligram per serving, or <5% of the daily recommended levels of calcium and magnesium. Another study highlighted veal bones sliced open to expose the marrow, placed in water with vinegar (more on vinegar later), and boiled for nine hours. The mineral loss from bones into the broth was extremely low—just a few milligrams of calcium and magnesium.
Keep in mind that longer cooking times (24-36 hours), where the meat falls of the bone and the bone really breaks down, tend to yield different results. It takes a long time for bones to break down and to get those interior nutrients. The marrow contains most of the minerals. Therefore, I probably wouldn’t rely on bone broth as a primary source of minerals if cooking under 24 hours, but with a longer cooking time I’d expect decent mineral content.
Source: Mark Sisson
The Definitive Guide to Bone Broth Benefits