Bone Broth For Gut Health
For centuries, people have been consuming bone broth as a traditional food. It is a staple in many cultures and is made by simmering bones and connective tissue in water for long periods of time. The slow cooking process extracts minerals and nutrients from the bones, resulting in a nutrient-dense liquid. Cooking times may range from as little as 3 hours to as much as 72 hours. All bone broths (beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more) are staples in the traditional diets of many cultures and the basis of fine cuisine. They’re also now a staple in the Paleo diet and the keto diet. That’s because bone broths are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in flavor and may boost healing. Advocates of bone broth recommend homemade bone broth, not store-bought
Potential Gut Health Benefits
Bone broth is a rich source of bioavailable minerals and other nutrients that are beneficial for gut health. It is a source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and silicon, which are important for a healthy gut microbiome. Bone broth is also a source of gelatin, a protein made up of collagen and other amino acids. Researchers think that gelatin supports gut health by aiding digestion and reducing inflammation. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy). It also helps with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. A published report indicates that gelatin effectively supports intestinal health and integrity. In that same study, it was shown to impart anti-inflammatory effects and an ability to inhibit cytokines .
Amino Acids For Gut Health
In addition to minerals and gelatin, bone broth is a source of amino acids, which are important for a healthy gut. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins, and they play an important role in the body’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients from food. Bone broth contains a number of essential amino acids, including glycine, proline, and glutamine. Glycine is thought to aid digestion and reduce inflammation , while proline and glutamine are thought to help repair the gut lining and support a healthy immune system. Bone broth also contains beneficial compounds known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are found in the connective tissue of animals. Researchers think GAGs help repair and protect the gut lining, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system, thus supporting gut health.
Increasing numbers of people are becoming interested in bone broth for its potential health benefits because it is easily digested and soothing to the digestive system, unlike many other foods which can be difficult to fully break down. We can improve gut health, skin health, and joint health with bone broth, a nutrient-dense food. We can use bone broth to make soups, stews, and sauces. Additionally, we can use it as a base for other dishes or as a substitute for other liquids, such as milk or stock, in a variety of recipes.
However, with so little clinical research to go on, it is difficult to make any firm conclusions as to the health benefits of bone broth. Keep in mind, any broad health claims about the health benefits of bone broth are likely to be misleading. This is due to the variability in each broth, including cooking time, type of bone and added ingredients.
Potential Risks Of Bone Broth Consumption
Of note, there are some risks associated with bone broth consumption that should be considered. One study took a look at lead content within bone broth . When animals and humans are exposed to excessive levels of lead, it can be stored in their bones. The researchers found that the chicken bone broth that they tested had higher lead concentration levels than that found in tap water. Lead concentrations were lower when the broth was made with just chicken meat, without any bones, cartilage or skin. The concern here is that excessive lead consumption has been linked to many significant health problems.
A 2017 study looked at the presence of essential toxic metals in animal broths . The researchers concluded that the levels found in both home-made and commercial broth are low and that the risk of exceeding the daily recommended levels was minimal. Given the concerns about lead, if you consume bone broth regularly, speak with your healthcare provider to see if they think that it is necessary to test the lead levels within your blood.
-  Frasca, G., Cardile, V., Puglia, C., Bonina, C., & Bonina, F. (2012). Gelatin tannate reduces the proinflammatory effects of lipopolysaccharide in human intestinal epithelial cells. Clinical and experimental gastroenterology, 5, 61–67. https://doi.org/10.2147/CEG.S28792
-  Ji, Y., Fan, X., Zhang, Y., Li, J., Dai, Z., & Wu, Z. (2022). Glycine regulates mucosal immunity and the intestinal microbial composition in weaned piglets. Amino acids, 54(3), 385–398. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-021-02976-y
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