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What is Bone Broth and Does it Have Benefits?

What is Bone Broth and Does it Have Benefits?

By now, you’ve probably heard of the hype surrounding bone broth.

Although it’s become more popular recently, bone broth has been around since prehistoric times. It’s also a staple in traditional medicine around the world, especially in Asia. 

This article takes a detailed look at bone broth and it’s potential health benefits.

What is bone broth?

Bone broth is a type of stock made by simmering various animals’ bones and connective tissue for around 12–24 hours, often with assorted vegetables, herbs, and spices.

It’s commonly used in soups, gravies, sauces, and most recently — as a health drink. 

Bone broth has a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. It’s also popular in traditional Chinese medicine, where it’s used to treat digestive issues and boost immunity.

You can make bone broth using nearly any animal’s bones, including beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, venison, veal, and fish. The marrow and connective tissues come from other parts of animals, like the feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards, spines, hocks, fins, etc. 

bone broth icons

Bone broth is rich in nutrients from the bone, marrow, and connective tissue, such as: 

  • Bone:Calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, and silicon.
  • Marrow: Vitamins A and K2, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, selenium. 
  • Connective tissue: Glucosamine and chondroitin.

The bone, marrow, and connective tissues are also high in collagen, which becomes gelatin once cooked. Gelatin has a special amino acid composition and is high in glycine. 

Summary

Bone broth is a type of stock made by simmering various animal bones, marrow, and connective tissue. It contains a variety of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and amino acids. 

Potential health benefits

Bone broth contains a wide array of healthy nutrients.

For example, it’s rich in minerals, contains both collagen and glycine, and is a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin — two key nutrients linked to healthier joints.

However, there are hardly any studies on the health benefits of bone broth.

bone broth potential benefits

So the following potential benefits are based on the nutrients bone broth contains:

  • May help with weight loss:Bone broth is low in calories and, on average, packs more protein than other types of soup like chicken noodle soup (1).
  • May improve sleep quality: Bone broth is high in the amino acid glycine. Some studies find it helps people sleep better and feel less tired the next day (2).
  • May support digestion:Bone broth contains the amino acid glutamine, which may help support healthy digestion and fight inflammation in the gut (3,4).
  • May support healthy joints: Bone broth contains collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which may help ease joint pain and fight joint inflammation (5,6)

Summary

Because there’s limited research on bone broth, it’s potential benefits are based on its nutrients. It may help with weight loss, improve sleep quality, support digestion, and support healthy joints.

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Blog written by Ryan Raman MHSC, RD
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