There has been a lot of mention in the media about Bone Broth recently. So what is so special about it – and is it the “magic” formula many claim it to be?
On a personal level I drink a mug of bone broth most days and I can honestly say that it has helped with various conditions I have suffered from, such as a problem Achilles heel last year and, more recently, a torn meniscus in my right knee.
Bone broth contains a myriad of health benefits that can help to treat leaky gut, improve joints, boost immunity and help to address food intolerances and allergies. While some companies now offer pre-made bone broth, it is easy to make at home and if you have a slow cooker you can have some on the go pretty much all the time.
For an easy recipe click here.
Bone broth has been used since our early ancestors learnt to make fire and it helped make use of the whole animal. Bones, skin, tendons, feet - basically anything left over that hadn’t already been eaten - would be popped into the pot, boiled up and then left to simmer for a number of hours, or even days. This long period of simmering releases nutrients such as collagen, proline, glutamine, chondroitin sulphate, glycine, glucosamine and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, phosphorous and more.
So what do these nutrients provide?
Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues of the body, such as bones, joints, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone marrow. It is significant in making certain parts of the body such as nails strong and is also an important factor in joint health. However, the production of this substance diminishes as we age, resulting in the formation of wrinkles, thinning skin and brittle hair amongst other issues. It is a vital nutrient for protecting our joints, especially as they start to suffer from wear and tear. Collagen is useful in injury recovery as it has the ability to seek out where it is needed in the body.
Collagen works with another compound called elastin to provide strength and firmness to the tissues, which helps to keep the skin looking firm, tight, flexible and youthful looking. It is also thought to assist individuals with arthritis and other illnesses affecting the joints or bones. Various studies indicate that chicken collagen supplements can be effective in the treatment of pain, swelling as well as stiffness around joints and is often used by people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies also indicate that collagen supplements used with protein and amino acids supplements help in improving mobility and flexibility in athletes. Collagen supplements come in various forms; gelatin and collagen hydrolysate being 2 of the most common available. There are also different types available; beef collagen, chicken collagen and marine collagen.
Gelatin provides cushioning between bones and helps protect against friction. It is also a vital component of healthy bones. Certainly the gelatin provided every day in my bone broth is helping to protect the knee bones from grinding against each other and perhaps may even be instrumental in healing the tear where possible. Gelatin is also important in supporting gut health and reducing intestinal inflammation.
Amino acids such as proline, glutamine and arginine are all helpful in restoring gut health and healing leaky gut. They are able to do this by helping to seal the gaps in the epithelial layer, or gut lining, that have opened up, allowing unwanted particles to pass through into the bloodstream.
Potassium and glycine support liver and cell detoxification by promoting removal of toxins and improving the efficacy of how the body uses antioxidants. Glycine also helps form muscle tissue by converting glucose into energy.
Glutamine also contributes towards gut health and is involved in metabolism, sending nutrients such as nitrogen into the body’s cells, helping to maintain energy.
Arginine breaks down nitric oxide, which improves the circulation, sending blood and nutrients to cells. This also promotes muscle and tissue integrity and can help to heal wounds.
Calcium & Magnesium are both needed for healthy bones and teeth, and prevention of conditions such as osteoporosis. Many people are deficient in magnesium and because this nutrient is a vital component of calcium absorption, symptoms of calcium deficiency can often actually be because of magnesium deficiency.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are fairly commonly used as supplements these days to help better joint function. Glucosamine is a compound found in cartilage and can help reduce inflammation and swelling whilst chondroitin is a structural component of cartilage, providing elasticity, fluidity and nutrients. Together they nourish joints and repair cartilage and may provide relief for conditions such as arthritis.
Proline helps the body break down proteins for use in healthy cells. It is the precursor for hydroxyproline, which is necessary for synthesizing collagen in the body.
Because bone broth contains such a wide range of minerals, it is a useful tool when fasting, particularly when new to fasting, as it replaces any lost electrolytes. Symptoms such as light-headedness and headaches disappear fast after a cup of bone broth.
So, as you can see, with it’s wealth of beneficial nutrients, bone both really can purport to have almost “magical effects” on the body. From reducing inflammation, to pain relief, joint health and aiding in prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis, it is a valuable addition to your daily diet.