The Scoop on Bone Broth As the winter months approach, a comforting cup of warm broth may be ‘just what the doctor ordered’. Bone broth has recently been touted by many ‘nutritional experts’ as the elixir that can cure gut problems, protect joints, keep skin smooth, and reduce colds and allergies. However, others warn that bone broths can expose us to toxic metals, and even lead to something called “leaky brain”.  The scientific research on bone broth is limited, but here is what we do know …

Chicken soup helps clear nasal passages and reduces inflammation. It’s called the common cold for a reason.  Viruses that cause it thrive in low temperatures, less humidity. When it’s cold outside, the lining of our noses become drier, more susceptible to viruses. Our body responds to viruses by signaling white blood cells to rush to the area, creating inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, and symptoms, such as a stuffy nose. Carnosine, a compound found in bone broth, slows down this pro-inflammatory activity.

Bone Broth is a source of essential elements, yet it provides under 5% of daily recommendations.  Still bone broth can be a great source for those who are intolerant to milk products. On the flip side, studies show that ingestion of toxic metals from bone broth is minimal. One of the benefits of making broth at home is that you can select bones from pasture-raised animals, not fed artificial ingredients or given hormones and steroids. 

Bone Broth is a good source of protein.  Animal bones may be 70% minerals, but they are also 30% organic collagen and protein. We don’t absorb collagen whole. It’s not like eating more collagen will fill in the gaps in our joints or bones. Collagen is broken down into amino acids and are used to build muscles and bones. The three main amino acids found in bone broth are glycine, proline and glutamic acid. Glycine is used for blood sugar regulation and enhances muscle repair and growth. Proline is a essential precursor to make collagen. Glutamic acid is converted to glutamine which helps heal the small intestine and supports muscle metabolism. 

Glutamine is not without risk. It is an excitatory amino acid, meaning it stimulates the nervous system. It is converted either to glutamate to excite neurons, or to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which has a calming effect. Glutamine found naturally in bone broth is different from MSG (monosodium glutamate) which is chemically produced from sugar or molasses (not protein) and is added to many processed broths, flavor enhancers and bouillons. MSG is a dangerous excitotoxin that can build up in the body and brain leading to what some ‘experts’ call leaky brain. People with autism, vitamin B6 deficiency, and lead toxicity may have problems metabolizing glutamine. The glutamine content of broth increases with cooking time, so it can be adjusted for sensitivity, while addressing the other issues. 

Broth includes the benefits of addition of vegetables. Most broth includes the addition and nutritional benefit of seasonal vegetables. People who consume broth (beef and vegetable consume fewer calories, get fuller faster, eat fewer calorie!. Keep in mind that bone broth has been used for centuries in the recipes we enjoy most and is the signature ingredient for many Michelin Star chefs. For recipes for delicious and comforting broths see recipes section. 

How I prepare my bone broth “tea”

  • 1-2 cups of bone broth
  • 3/4 cup of water (you can always add more depending on the concentration of your broth) 
  • Squeeze of citrus (I use lemon) 
  • A pinch of a mineral salt (I use Celtics Mineral Sea Salt) 
  • A small pinch of cilantro (chopped fine) 

I warm the broth over the stove and add the water, lemon and sea salt as its warming. When I am ready to serve I add a pinch of cilantro. Enjoy! 

Sources: 

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5533136/ 
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/whats-the-scoop-on-bone-soup
  • https://exploreim.ucla.edu/wellness/an-inside-scoop-on-the-science-behind-chicken-soup-and-the-common-cold/ 
  • Text-Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions
  • Text- Elson M. Haasand Buck Levin’s Staying Healthy with Nutrition