Bone broth, or stock, is made my simmering bones (fish, chicken, beef, lamb, etc.) for long periods of time. Adding vegetables and herbs improves the flavor and increases the nutrient density. The final product is perfect for making delicious soups and stews. Plus, it's jam packed with easily absorbable proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals.
Dr. Josh Axe says that he finds Bone Broth to be the #1 thing to consume to:
- Heal leaky gut
- Treat food intolerances & sensitivities
- Improve joint health
- Reduce cellulite
- Boost immune system
First, a little bit of history. Bone broth was used, and continues to be used, in traditional Chinese medicine which dates back at least 2.500 years. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use bone broth to improve digestive health, build blood, and increase kidney strength. In 12th century Egypt, chicken soup was considered a remedy for colds & asthma. So, needless to say, the recognition that broth is healing isn't new. Also, to be clear, the broth you buy off the shelf in your supermarket is not the same thing and will not contain the same healthy components.
Bones contain several important amino acids, glycosaminoglycans, and minerals, which are released during cooking (in this case into water). Amongst the many amino acids found in bone broth, 3 really stand out: proline, glycine, and glutamine. Proline helps the body rebuild connective tissue like tendons & ligaments. Glycine stimulates the production of stomach acid (most Americans have too little stomach acid not too much), is a component bile acid (critical for fat digestion), strengthens the liver (we can't detoxify without the liver), and synthesis glutathione (master antioxidant in the body) among other things. Gluatmine is the number one source of fuel for the epithelial cells that make up the lining of our digestive tract. Our gut lining repairs itself every 3 to 6 days, which is why, glutamine is so critical in keeping the gut from being "leaky". Increased intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut, opens the door to food sensitivities, immune system deregulation, and chronic illness.
Glycosaminoglycans or GAGS are a type of carbohydrate found in bone and cartilage and are well known for decreasing pain and repairing damage in those will joint pain, including rheumatoid arthritis. Hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine are popular, and expensive, supplements that are often taken for joint pain. Buying the supplements is one option ... or ... you could consume bone broth.
Lastly, as the bones begin to break down, they release a host of minerals into the water. Those include, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, sulfur, and sodium. Unlike some vitamins, our bodies cannot make it's own minerals and relies on us eating them. Unfortunately the more processed our food becomes the less minerals it contains. To add to the dilemma, many of our agricultural areas have been farmed in such a way that their mineral content is significantly lower than it was 20 years ago. Eating lots of organic vegetables is no longer a guarantee that we will get adequate levels of minerals. Minerals are critical catalysts in every function of the body including: digestion, hormone production, immune system regulation, and detoxification. The minerals found in bone broth are plentiful and easy for the body to absorb.
So, you can see why bone broth is a darling of the health & wellness community. However, I am a big believer in bio-individuality, which means what works beautifully for one person could be an awful idea for another. In the case of bone broth, it is contraindicated (in certain forms) for individuals with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, a condition where there are too many bacteria living in the small intestine. Those bacteria feed on certain types of food and can cause of host of symptoms including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, food sensitivities, fatigue, and more. For individuals with SIBO, consuming bone broth may aggravate their symptoms because the GAGS are a particular type of carbohydrate known as polysaccharides, which feed bacteria (not a good thing if you have an overgrowth). For those with SIBO, using marrow-bones (not cartilage bones) reduces the amount of polysaccharides and can be enjoyed.
Check out the recipe below. Enjoy by the glass or as a base in soups & stews. Use high quality bones whenever possible (if you can't find grass-fed bones, discard the fat layer that forms on top of the broth as is cools).