I don’t know about what’s going on in your part of the country, but here from Portland to Oregon City, there is a new health craze catching on. The LuLuLemon clad gods and goddesses of fashionable health trends have spoken! And bone broth shall be the next panacea for conditions ranging from acne to leaky gut. We’ve got bone broth food carts, companies that will ship organic free-range broth cubes, and butchers selling “special” broth bones. Move over, Doterra Essential Oils, the Paleo Diet is saving a seat for you at the singles’ table.
Is it worth the hype? Bone broth certainly isn’t new but like many old world remedies, its benefits may be over promised. A patient asked me to do some digging around on the topic and instead of just sharing what I learned with one person, I thought I’d let everyone in on it. It’s important to keep in mind that no large clinical lab is running randomized controlled trials on bone broth. So I’ll reference the evidence when I can like I always do but this will largely be discussion on the feasibility of claims.
Claim No. 1 – Bone Broth Strengthens your Bones
People say that it contains the bone enriching mineral calcium. The idea here is that the vinegar used in its preparation leaches out these this and other minerals (remember the calcium and egg experiment in middle school?). A 1934 study by McCance found that bone broth contained less calcium than a glass of milk. They also found that broth made from vegetables contained more calcium than bone broth which isn’t surprising when you consider how awesome broccoli is. If you’re drinking bone broth for bone health and trace minerals, I’d recommend you consider a supplement.
Claim No. 2 – Bone Broth is good for your Joints
Absolutely. What happens if you chill the broth? It turns into jello. That’s because the broth is a rich, rich source of collagen, one of our body’s main building blocks. Unlike joint health micronutrients found in a bottle, this is a pre-packaged whole-food preparation that your body can easily break down and put to use.
Claim No. 3 – Bone Broth is good for your Skin
Yes. For the same reasons mentioned above. Your expensive anti-aging skin creams say that they have a collagen boosting formula eliminating fine lines and wrinkles. Bone broth works like this from the inside out.
Claim No. 4 – Bone Broth Heals Leaky Gut
No one knows, with any certainty, what Leaky Gut Syndrome is. Most of us can agree that it is a multi-factorial functional issue. Many different things can lead to leaky gut, so many different things can improve it in some small way depending on which of the root causes is being addressed.
Claim No. 5 – Bone Broth Boosts Your Immune System and Energy
True. All of the whole-food nutrients from the marrow, vegetables, and herbs can definitely offer a boost to those who drink it, especially if they are living a nutrient-deficient lifestyle like most Americans (whether you know it or not, you could be living one too. Read this blog post to learn more).
I’ve always been a fan of bone-broth, if anything just for the taste and how well it can warm me up on a cold winter day. And there are, without doubt, many benefits of this food.
Like any responsible clinician, my opinions are based on the best evidence available to me at the time. If there’s something you feel I’ve overlooked – I’d welcome your input on my Facebook page.
Until next time, eat well and move often!