For centuries, simmering bones to create a nutrient-dense elixir has been a staple in traditional cuisines and medicinal practices around the world. From the hearty broths of ancient Chinese kitchens to the restorative soups of medieval Europe, bone broth has played a foundational role in our ancestral diets. 

Today, as we take a more holistic approach to health and nutrition, we are rediscovering and harnessing the benefits of bone broth. As we delve into its rich blend of nutrients and health-promoting properties, it becomes clear that this ancient brew is more than just a culinary tradition – it’s a potent ally for modern wellness! With that said, let’s dive in and take a look at what the science tells us about this powerful food.

Nutrients in Bone Broth

At the heart of bone broth’s acclaim lies its rich nutritional composition. Foremost, it’s an excellent source of collagen, the protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity, joint health, and the integrity of our connective tissues. As the broth simmers, collagen breaks down into gelatin, which not only gives the broth its characteristic texture but also aids in digestive health. Beyond these, bone broth boasts a spectrum of essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins that support numerous bodily functions. 

The simmering process also leaches vital minerals from the bones, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, providing a natural mineral supplement beneficial for bone health and metabolic functions. Last, but by no means least, the bone marrow that gets cooked down enriches the broth with a mix of beneficial fats, immune-supporting compounds, and additional nutrients. 

What are the Benefits of Bone Broth?

Gut Health

One of the most incredible benefits of bone broth is its profound effect on gut health. Gelatin (a derivative of collagen) has been shown to help seal the delicate lining of the gut, creating a barrier against harmful substances and potential irritants. This sealing effect of the gut lining can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Some studies3 have even found that the anti-inflammatory properties of bone broth can reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. 

Further, bone broth may be able to promote the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, which can directly improve digestion and ease food sensitivities. 

Joint Health and Arthritis

While bone broth may not directly be able to cure joint pain or arthritis, the nutrients it contains may be able to help provide some relief. Bone broth is rich in chondroitin and glucosamine1, which are key building blocks of cartilage. Chondroitin helps maintain the elasticity and flexibility of joints, working synergistically with glucosamine, which aids in the repair and growth of new cartilage. Together, they offer a powerful duo that may alleviate some of the discomfort associated with degenerative joint conditions like arthritis.

Skin Health

Naturally, with age, collagen production weakens and declines. This is what leads to wrinkles and a loss of skin firmness. Fortunately, collagen is one of the most prevalent components of bone broth! The collagen ingested is broken down into amino acids, which are then reassembled by our bodies, potentially enhancing skin elasticity4. Studies have found5 that the hydration properties of collagen may assist in retaining skin moisture, creating a more supple and hydrated complexion. It is also extremely beneficial for the healing of burns and wounds. So, the bottom line here is that regularly consuming bone broth may counteract some of these anti-aging effects.

Immune System Boost

Having a strong immune system is critical, as this is our body’s first line of defense against potential threats. The essential amino acids and minerals in bone broth are important components that aid in building and maintaining robust immune responses. These nutrients not only support the structural aspects of our immune system, such as the health of our gut lining – a critical component in immune function – but also fuel the immune-fighting cells that combat pathogens. 

In addition, the bone marrow found in bone broth contains compounds known to enhance the production of white blood cells, which is especially important for fighting illnesses and infections.

Bone Strength

Our bones are the supporting framework for our bodies and they require constant nourishment to maintain their strength and density. Bone broth can contribute a wide variety of minerals that can help keep our bones healthy. As the bones simmer during the broth-making process, they release a number of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, directly into the liquid. The proper balance of these minerals is fundamental to the formation of new bone cells, bone repair, and maintenance.

In a world where bone-related conditions like osteoporosis are on the rise, incorporating bone broth into your diet can be a proactive step toward safeguarding bone health and ensuring skeletal longevity. It is important to note that the amount of minerals2 in bone broth depends on the quality of the bones used, and the length of time that the broth is cooked. 

How to Incorporate Bone Broth into Your Diet

If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of bone broth, incorporating it into your diet is simple. With the rising popularity of bone broth, there are numerous commercially available products, from ready-to-drink broths to powdered versions, making it even more convenient to incorporate into your routine. Starting with a cup a day can offer a gentle introduction, allowing you to gauge its effects on your body. However, when opting for store-bought varieties, always check for additives and ensure the source of bones is reputable.

Aside from consuming bone broth on its own, it can also be integrated into meals. You can transform your everyday soups by using bone broth as a base, imparting a richer flavor and nutritional profile. For a twist on staple dishes, consider cooking grains like rice, quinoa, or barley in bone broth instead of water. 

  1. Are collagen supplements helpful for arthritis? | Arthritis Foundation. (2022).
  2. Hsu, D. J., Lee, C. W., Tsai, W. C., & Chien, Y. C. (2017). Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food & nutrition research, 61(1), 1347478.
  3. Mar-Solís, L. M., Soto-Domínguez, A., Rodríguez-Tovar, L. E., Rodríguez-Rocha, H., García-García, A., Aguirre-Arzola, V. E., Zamora-Ávila, D. E., Garza-Arredondo, A. J., & Castillo-Velázquez, U. (2021). Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 57(11), 1138. 
  4. Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V., & Oesser, S. (2014). Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin pharmacology and physiology, 27(1), 47–55.
  5. Wang H. (2021). A Review of the Effects of Collagen Treatment in Clinical Studies. Polymers, 13(22), 3868.