If you’re looking to incorporate a healthy food into your repertoire, bone broth is a great option. This article discusses the 4 most popularly touted bone broth benefits, plus other health claims. Thus, you can form a better opinion on whether to drink bone broth.
At least anecdotally, whenever I drink bone broth, I tend to feel more relaxed and sleep better that night. Josh notices the same effect when he drinks it. Thus, we are convinced bone broth confers at least some benefits and keep a pretty steady supply in our fridge.
If you’ve never made bone broth, see our Bone Broth Recipe for Beginners | Foolproof + Healthy. Making your own bone broth is significantly cheaper than buying broth or stock from the store. Depending on your ingredients, it can also be better quality and more flavorful than store-bought broth.
We not only drink bone broth straight in a cup, but also incorporate it into recipes like soups and sauces. It’s nice knowing that the broth can add additional vitamins and minerals, among other benefits.
Plus, you can feel more resourceful by using bones for another purpose instead of immediately discarding them. I also up the resourcefulness by adding vegetable trimmings to my broth that I would otherwise discard.
Read more about bone broth benefits below.
Bone Broth Benefits
This study showed bone marrow was higher in Vitamin E than meat and other animal parts. The same study also showed bone marrow contained Vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, though all in small amounts. Thus, so long as the marrow is exposed in your bones, these vitamins can infiltrate your broth during the cooking process.
Vitamin A is important for your vision and immune system functioning. It’s also important for organ functioning, your reproductive system, and other functions.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is important in helping your body convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy. It’s also important for your vision, muscles, and hormones, among other parts.
Vitamin B5 also helps your body convert food sources into energy. Its functions include helping with red blood cell production, processing other vitamins, and aiding your digestive tract.
Vitamin B12 is important for regulating your nervous system, blood cells, iron absorption, and other functions.
Vitamin E is important in maintaining your vision, reproductive system, brain, and blood cells, among other roles.
Just remember that the study showed the above vitamins in small amounts, so by no means should you rely on bone broth for these vitamins if you are deficient. However, they are an added benefit to drinking or using bone broth.
Pro Tip: If you want to increase your bone broth’s vitamin content, you can add vitamin-rich vegetables. Since you will consume the water the vegetables are cooked in, you will get all of the water-soluble vitamins that otherwise leach out of vegetables during cooking.
Bone broth may contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Calcium is important for your bones, heart, muscles, and nerves.
Magnesium is important for controlling your body’s inflammation, bone health, and blood pressure, among other roles. Most people actually don’t get enough magnesium in their diet, so could benefit from additional sources.
Phosphorous is very important for your body’s bone health, DNA, and cell membranes, among other functions.
Like with bone broth’s vitamin content, the actual mineral content is unclear and can vary per batch and cooking time. Thus, you shouldn’t rely on bone broth to provide all of your body’s requirements for the above-stated minerals, but can include it to supplement other sources.
Collagen and Amino Acids
It’s well-documented that bone broth contains collagen.
Studies show taking collagen supplements can benefit your joints, skin, and other body parts or functions. However, whether drinking the collagen found in bone broth provides similar benefits to taking a processed collagen supplement is in dispute.
Thus, to form collagen that our body can use (e.g. to repair skin, tendons, bones, etc.), our body needs sufficient sources of protein and amino acids. Some professionals maintain that your body won’t use collagen that you drink in the same way that it would use collagen that your body produces.
Additionally, one study concluded that bone broth alone is unlikely to provide sufficient materials (i.e. amino acids) for your body to make usable collagen. However, the study did acknowledge that bone broth (particularly homemade bone broth, versus commercially-produced bone broth) contains amino acids.
Thus, even though no study has specifically shown whether the collagen in bone broth is beneficial or not, we can at least conclude that bone broth has beneficial amino acids. So, you could use bone broth to supplement nutritional collagen supplements if your objective is collagen production.
When collagen in bone broth is cooked long enough, the collagen will break down into gelatin. Thus, bone broth also contains gelatin, which is why your broth may take on a “jello” consistency in the refridgerator.
Gelatin is believed to have many benefits like regulating blood sugar and contributing to bone strength, hair health, and sleep quality. Indeed, the latter could explain my experience of sleeping better after drinking bone broth.
Lack of Studies on Bone Broth Benefits
As of the date of this article, the scientific and medical world still lacks extensive peer-reviewed studies on the full scope of bone broth benefits.
As discussed in the prior section, studies show certain beneficial compounds are present in bone broth, so we can conclude bone broth is beneficial.
However, many people also tout benefits like treating a leaky gut with bone broth or boosting your immune system. Yet no extensive study exists on either assertion. Rather, most sources touting these benefits rely on extrapolations from studies of certain compounds in isolation (e.g. the effect of collagen supplements on gut health) or from similar studies (e.g. a study on chicken soup boosting immunity).
That is not to say that we should discount these views. Rather, just like with most incomplete assertions and studies (including the ones mentioned in this article), take them with a grain of salt!
Since I don’t expect bone broth to be a magical health elixir, I don’t look for miraculous results. However, I do believe bone broth has enough benefits to drink it and to use it in recipes regularly.
I tend to believe in the benefits of whole foods, i.e. that consuming a food product in its whole form, will confer synergistic benefits that isolated elements won’t. In other words, all of the various vitamins, amino acids, and other compounds boiled out of bones probably work together synergistically in ways that studies haven’t specifically targeted yet. Thus, even if bone broth doesn’t have a lot of vitamins, the vitamins that are present may work with other compounds to confer benefits.
Similarly, my view is that even if bone broth lacks highly concentrated quantities of certain compounds that a manufactured pill would (e.g. Vitamin E), I still believe in variety in your diet. It’s good to get different beneficial compounds from different sources in your diet, and adding bone broth adds an additional source to your repertoire.
If you’re really seeking any particular organic compound in isolation, like collagen, you can always take a concentrated nutritional supplement and simply use bone broth to supplement.
At the very minimum, making bone broth can may at least help you get a good night’s sleep and increase your resourcefulness by making use of bones!
Please comment below on any bone broth benefits that you may have witnessed or heard about, since others may be curious to hear as well.