What is bone broth and how
does it benefit your health?

Bone broth is an ancient preparation that has gained great popularity in recent years because of its healing qualities and its pleasant and intense flavor. Evidence indicates that its intake contributes to recovering leaky gut and reducing chronic inflammation; It is beneficial for the skin, joints, brain, muscle and heart function, and may help with weight loss. Let's review its history, its components and its benefits.

What is bone broth?


It is a preparation obtained from the slow cooking in water of a good quantity of bones of various animals. The most popular broths usually contain chicken, beef or turkey bones; but its raw material can also come from species such as fish, beef, lamb or buffalo, among other species. [At the end of this article you will find several links that will help you delve into this valuable broth]

Where does it come from?


As mentioned by Sally Fallon Morell in her book Nourishing Broth (2014), the first soups began to be prepared in the Stone Age. Apparently, the shells of turtles or the exoskeleton of some crustaceans served as containers. It would begin to be consumed more frequently thanks to the invention of ceramic vessels, about 20,000 years ago. That's how old the recipe is and, as the author says, "it is well known, throughout history, that the broth calms your stomach and also your nerves."

Why eat the bones?


Because they have many essential nutrients and because it is a practice that invites you to consume responsibly. It is about making the most of, as the ancient civilizations did, all the parts of the animal: from the nose to the tail.

How is it prepared?


This is one of the most basic bone broth , recipes. There are so many ways to prepare it.


Ingredients

  • 4 liters of water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 or 2 kilograms of chicken, beef or turkey bones. Ideally, from various parts of the animal. It is recommended to include the legs and the knuckles.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

In a good size pot add all the ingredients until the mixture boils. Lower the heat and be patient, your bone broth will be ready after a slow cook of 12-24 hours. The longer the time, the higher the benefits. And don't forget the apple cider vinegar, this will be key to extracting the nutrients stored in the bones of the animal.

After cooking

Let it cool. Remove the solid parts and put it in the fridge. There it will be kept in good condition for up to five days. If you want your broth to last longer, store it in small portions in the freezer.

What nutrients does bone broth contain?


So many that it is difficult to talk about the properties of all of them in a single article, but we will summarize it well. These are the main components.

Proteins and amino acids



    • Collagen. It accounts for 30 percent of the body's total protein and we have 28 types of it. This protein molecule is paramount and prevailing in the composition of ligaments, cartilage tissue, tendons, skin and, of course, the entire bone structure.

    • Gelatin. It is the result of simmering collagen. Bone broth, in fact, has a jelly-like consistency.

    • Glycine. At least a third of collagen is made up of this relevant amino acid that we will mention repeatedly in the following paragraphs.

    • Proline. Another amino acid, it is a minor component of collagen, but essential in the structure of a powerful antioxidant called glutathione.

    • Glutamine. It is a fundamental nutrient for the cells of the small intestine, it is the amino acid with the highest presence in our blood, and it is abundant in bone broth.

    • Arginine. One more amino acid on the list, which performs various functions and is important to eliminate ammonia in the body.

    • And the marrow itself, which is found inside the bones. It is made up of red bone marrow (where red blood cells and immune system cells are created) and yellow bone marrow (a storehouse of good fats).

  • Glycosaminoglycans. These proteins are the result of one of the detoxification phases of the liver. They give structure to the joints, to the ligaments, to all systems.

Major minerals and micronutrients

What are the benefits of bone broth?



The mixture of all the components mentioned above gives this preparation numerous advantages and contributes to our well-being. In which organs will we notice its effects? What conditions does this recipe help correct? Read on to find out.

The intestine


Millions of people in the world suffer from intestinal permeability due to bad habits and a diet based on sugars and ultra-processed products. In other words, your intestine has lost its filtering properties. In good conditions, it would absorb the substances that benefit the body and close its doors to the harmful ones, but when it 'fails', it allows some or others to enter without distinction.

Drinking some bone broth on a regular basis will help with intestinal repair. In this task, gelatin will be very important, which will help create a mucus barrier that will prevent bacteria and unwelcome guests from entering the intestine.

Metabolism, heart, muscles


On a metabolic level, the glycine (again!) found in bone broth helps regulate blood sugar and glucose production in the liver. Another quality of this amino acid is that it allows the muscles of our body to increase their potential, their energy capacity and their performance.

And it helps your heart health, which lowers your chances of a heart attack. It does so, thanks to the great role it plays in balancing the methionine that reaches our body every time we eat animal protein. When we consume meat in large quantities, because of the methionine, the levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream can be raised. If we don't have nutrients to reduce their presence, you could be at risk for heart disease or stroke, among other conditions. The glycine in the bone broth will balance those levels.

The skin


This is the first wall of protection that our body has, and it is its largest organ. Three main components of bone broth will be vital in maintaining the elasticity and hydration of our skin: keratin, collagen, and glycosaminoglycans. All of them present in the bones and skin of the animals that are part of this cooking. By the way, if your intestine is fine, so will your skin (bone broth helps both purposes).

Chronic inflammation


As a result of your poor food choices and poor lifestyle habits, it occurs in your body when molecules called free radicals have outdone the good work of antioxidants. Chronic inflammation is the mother of dozens of diseases. But, frequent intake of bone broth would really help decrease it. Glycine and arginine would be definitive in this task. Studies conducted on rats – much of the scientific research is carried out on these animals because they have a genetic composition similar to that of humans – suggest that arginine, especially, is vital for this purpose.

Bones and joints


Nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamins C, D and K2; as well as the amino acids contained in the bone broth, would contribute to strengthening our bone structure. While collagen and glycosaminoglycans would strengthen the joints.

Mental health


More than 60 percent of our brain is made up of fat. So the healthy fats in bone broth (such as those found in marrow) will do you a lot of good. Calcium (has a relevant role in nerve functions) and glycine are important for brain health, which, according to evidence, promotes the brain development of babies, from the time they are in the womb until the first months of life outside it.

The digestive system


Likewise, glycine and glutamine will participate in this process (we talked to you about them lines ago, and we will continue mentioning them). Glycine helps produce acid in the stomach and prevent gastric ulcers. Do not forget that this organ, by nature, must preserve its acidic conditions (although some mistakenly insist on trying to 'alkalize' it). Glutamine, for its part, is an amino acid necessary to maintain the quality of the mucus that forms the protective barrier of the intestine. In addition, bone broth also facilitates the digestion of the other foods you eat.

Better mood, better sleep


A rich bone broth can help you sleep soundly. Guess what amino acid contributes to this? Indeed, glycine. If you sleep well, your stress will drop, your body will have more time to recover and, of course, your mood will change.

Why do they say that it helps to lose weight?


Don't think that by drinking bone broth you will start losing weight right away as that would not make any sense. However, this nutrient-rich preparation has the advantage of quickly filling us up. In other words, drinking it satisfies you, nourishes you and keeps you away from other bad food choices that only fulfill the function of "filling" your body.

How many nutrients are in a cup of bone broth?


It's very hard to know for sure, there's been quite a bit of discussion about it, but according to WebMD, this could be the approximate composition of a conventional cup of beef bone broth.

  • Proteins: 5 gr.
  • Fats: 3 gr.
  • Carbohydrates: 1,7 gr.
  • Fiber: 0 gr.
  • Sugars: 0,5 gr.

In good supplements that contain chicken bone broth, for example, it is easier to know with certainty the amounts of protein, amino acids and other nutrients.

What kind of bones should we consume?


Ideally, they should come from pastured (grass-fed) animals, or from small producers, not from big industry that feeds species with transgenic sources or uses hormones. That is the ideal scenario, but each person will find the best sources (organic or not), according to their reality. The bones are usually cheap and you can get them at your trusted butcher shop.


Where can I find it?


In case your hectic life doesn't allow you to prepare it (it's very slow cooking and time consuming), look for the best possible sources in your local market. Specialists recommend against buying canned bone broths.

Why consume Bone Broth Power?


This concentrate is the result of a completely organic chicken, free of toxic metals certified by the laboratory, with a much higher nutritional value (mentioned above). You would have to cook large amounts of bones for long hours to get what a serving of Bone Broth Power gives you. The nutritional profile of this food is the perfect complement to a healthy diet since its profile of amino acids, healthy fats and other compounds is not easily found in other preparations. Additionally, its manufacturing process consists only of cooking it for long hours and then separating it from the concentrate that remains in the upper layer when it cools and then drying it with air, turning it into a product of minimal processing, free of chemicals. That is, far from being an ultra-processed product. It has the same level of processing that your homemade salt or turmeric or morning coffee might have.

Can it be used as a base for other preparations?


Of course, bone broth can be one of the main ingredients in your best and healthiest sauces.

For more information about it

Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.118.4.1150. PMID: 11035691.

Raman R, Sasisekharan V, Sasisekharan R. Structural insights into biological roles of protein-glycosaminoglycan interactions. Chem Biol. 2005 Mar;12(3):267-77. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2004.11.020. PMID: 15797210.

Hernandes MS, Troncone LR. Glycine as a neurotransmitter in the forebrain: a short review. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2009 Dec;116(12):1551-60. doi: 10.1007/s00702-009-0326-6. Epub 2009 Oct 14. PMID: 19826900.

Gundersen RY, Vaagenes P, Breivik T, Fonnum F, Opstad PK. Glycine--an important neurotransmitter and cytoprotective agent. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2005 Sep;49(8):1108-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2005.00786.x. PMID: 16095452.

Wu G, Bazer FW, Burghardt RC, et al. Proline and hydroxyproline metabolism: implications for animal and human nutrition. Amino Acids. 2011;40(4):1053-1063. doi:10.1007/s00726-010-0715-z

Henzi V, Reichling DB, Helm SW, MacDermott AB. L-proline activates glutamate and glycine receptors in cultured rat dorsal horn neurons. Mol Pharmacol. 1992 Apr;41(4):793-801. PMID: 1349155.

Brosnan JT. Interorgan amino acid transport and its regulation. J Nutr. 2003 Jun;133(6 Suppl 1):2068S-2072S. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.6.2068S. PMID: 12771367.

Kim MH, Kim H. The Roles of Glutamine in the Intestine and Its Implication in Intestinal Diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 May 12;18(5):1051. doi: 10.3390/ijms18051051. PMID: 28498331; PMCID: PMC5454963.

Achamrah N, Déchelotte P, Coëffier M. Glutamine and the regulation of intestinal permeability: from bench to bedside. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):86-91. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000339. PMID: 27749689.

Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kelher M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;56(3):181-91. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601307. PMID: 11960292.

Sarko J. Bone and mineral metabolism. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2005 Aug;23(3):703-21, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2005.03.017. PMID: 15982542.

Leuzzi V, Alessandrì MG, Casarano M, Battini R, Cioni G. Arginine and glycine stimulate creatine synthesis in creatine transporter 1-deficient lymphoblasts. Anal Biochem. 2008 Apr 1;375(1):153-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2008.01.018. Epub 2008 Jan 18. PMID: 18258176.

Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 May;24(5):1485-96. doi: 10.1185/030079908x291967. Epub 2008 Apr 15. PMID: 18416885.

Guoyao Wu, Yun-Zhong Fang, Sheng Yang, Joanne R. Lupton, Nancy D. Turner, Glutathione Metabolism and Its Implications for Health, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 134, Issue 3, March 2004, Pages 489–492, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/134.3.489

Gomes JA, Amankwah R, Powell-Richards A, Dua HS. Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) promotes migration of human corneal epithelial cells in vitro. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;88(6):821-5. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2003.027573. PMID: 15148219; PMCID: PMC1772195.

  • Article in The New York Times on the rise of bone broth: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/07/dining/bone-broth-evolves-from-prehistoric-food-to-paleo-drink.html?searchResultPosition=1

  • Another digest on bone broth: https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-bone-broth#1

  • A different reality. In this TIME article certain qualities of bone broth are questioned, we include it for you to draw your own conclusions: https://time.com/4159156/bone-broth-health-benefits/

  • Glycine and Sleep Study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16095452/

  • The testimony of a chef who loves the bone broth (audio): https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/43-beautiful-broth/

  • Glutamine and Gut Barrier Study: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00726-014-1773-4