You have more than likely become aware of the of the bone broth trend over the years, but have your incorporated the healing broth into your daily life yet? For a period of time back around 2015, I was drinking homemade bone broth regularly, but over time my dietary changes nixed it from the mix. (I have tried just about every diet known to the endometriosis sphere, and much of the advice contradicted each other.) Now I am looking to add bone broth back into my daily or weekly rotation. Why? For several reasons.
In my other post about top ways to improve digestion and endometriosis, my research led me to the conclusion that bone broth is very good for healing one’s digestive tract, which is really imperative to reducing endometriosis pain. Slow and painful digestion does nothing to ensure my system is helping to reduce toxins, reduce inflammation and bloating, and alleviate dietary upsets. During my additional research on the ins and outs, I decided that it is time to start incorporating it into my daily life again. Fresh start!
So, what did I find out? Read on!
Bones, Collagen, and Minerals
Homemade bone broths contain what is known as collagenous protein, or gelatin; and, this is basically liquid gold for the digestive system. Think of it this way, as we age, our bodies lose their elasticity, our skin loses its suppleness, and our joints are prone to injury and achiness. This is a direct result of a slowdown of collagen production. Heck, why do you think people get collagen injected into their faces and er, other places as they get older? Natural collagen is linked with more graceful aging, smoothing of the wrinkles and other skin boosting properties. (1)
When we use bones from cows, chicken and fish, namely, and slow cook them with water for a certain period of time, the collagen found in the bones or on the bones breaks down into gelatin. Then, once we have completed cooking them, we can strain the fat and drink the broth for its wonderful properties. Our ancestors and many modern day farmers utilize every part of the animal and realized that many nutrients were stored in the animal’s body. Many recipes call for simmering bones in water with a small amount of vinegar, accompanied by herbs and vegetables, for 12-24 hours, sometimes longer.
Aside from collagen, there are other properties that add some value when consumed. The exact amount of bioavailable minerals will depend upon the source, type and age of the animal bones used. However, these are the minerals most often found in bones, and ultimately the bone broth:
- calcium phosphate
While bone broth may be thought of as having high levels of minerals in general or specifically calcium, it actually does not have the ability to boast of such claims; the collagen found in the bones are actually the part that provides bone-fortifying matter. The minerals listed above are found in such small levels that drinking bone broth for the mineral content alone is not justifiable. I have some other thoughts on how to supplement calcium in my post about improving digestive health.
Gelatin And Healing
Some of the best research on the power of bone broth, collagen and ultimately gelatin come from a Dr. Francis Pottenger Jr., MD back in 1937. This research, announced at the Annual Meeting of the American Therapeutic Society in Atlantic City, said that gelatin, when combined with just about anything that had caused an upset stomach in a person would go on to cause no insensitivity when combined with gelatin.
“Dr. Pottenger recited a long list of conditions that could be relieved by gelatin, including slow digestion, nervous digestion, vomiting, diarrhea, gas formation, and heartburn.” (2)
Well, then incorporating the healing effects of bone broth into your diet might be a part of what your body needs to feel better and heal. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that the source of your animal products are free of pesticides and hormones. Go the grass-fed route where possible. The absolute best sources of bones which yield the greatest gelatin substance are chicken feet and pig’s feet. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of using chicken’s feet in broth, though it may seem odd to store these in your freezer at first if you are a Westerner. The smaller bones are better for generating gelatinous material and for healing the digestive tract and healing leaky gut syndrome. (3)
Gelatin And Digestion
Further, what are the compounds in gelatin that help digestion along so gracefully? Apparently, a family of compounds called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). From this family come glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
According Sally Fallon Morell’s book, Nourishing Broth, “these provide the raw ingredients needed for the body to produce healing mucus required throughout the digestive system. While the raw food community spouts the myth that mucus is merely unwanted gunky buildup caused by meat, dairy, and cooked foods, the truth is we need plenty of healthy mucus for optimum digestion, a high-functioning immune system, and the soothing of any GI tract inflammation” (3).
Fallon Morell then goes on to describe the ways in which the mucus is actually beneficial to digestion, all of which point to the promotion of a solution to leaky gut.
Here is the list of roles that this good mucus plays in healing the digestive tract:
- Coats the stomach, prevent stomach ulcers
- Nourishes good bacteria and helps to regulate the immune response in the small intestines
- Helps to encase bad bacteria a case of infection, though in a chronic infection, mucus can be depleted, causing additional issues for the gut.
The glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) research also shows that those who test low on these usually have leaky gut syndrome (sometimes called the GAG defect).
Glycine and Glutamine
Glycine is an amino acid that helps to digest proteins, and is found in high levels in bone broth and gelatin. (5) This is because it helps by aiding gastric acid secretion. It is also necessary for bone growth and healing malnutrition. For those who may find digesting animal products more challenging, it would seem that using bone broth along with meat could help with digestion. But wait, there’s more. Doing so actually points to increases in long-term fertility and the lifespan itself. (4)
Researchers in the American Journal of Physiology have already proposed back in 1925 that “glycine may have application in the design of chemically defined diets for patients with gastrointestinal disorders”. (Fallon Morell, 104)
Another component of bone broth that is also highly beneficial is glutamine. Many articles have been written about this amazing nutrient especially in the health and body building industries. Glutamine is involved with the process that transports nutrients from food reach the bloodstream, and is also involved with the transformation from food into energy (via adenosine triphosphate or ATP). (2) There are many more benefits of glutamine for the body beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say, bone broth contains many nutrients necessary for good digestion, healing digestive upsets and providing a hospitable environment for energy promotion.
Bone Broth’s Popularity
The bone broth fad continues to ebb and flow over the years. For some, sourcing the bones may be challenging, and for others, the time needed to make food from scratch is limited. However, evidence shows over time the importance of gut health when trying to heal from chronic conditions, such as endometriosis or a combination of conditions.
What is more, many other protocols utilize the healing benefits broth. For example, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet purportedly helps heal those with gut disruptions as well as autism or those on the spectrum, ADHD and depression, to name a few. Another is Donna Gates’ Body Ecology diet, which focuses strongly on healing the gut as a means for vitality.
My Favorite Bone Broth Related Collagen Product
Now, I still do bone broth as often as possible. I’ll pressure cook a bit ol batch of leftover chicken bones or whatever bones are on hand and store it in the fridge. (Careful if you try and freeze this stuff in glass mason jars…the broth will expand and your jars may break. Just saying from experience, a friend’s of course).
However, if you are needing extra protein in your diet and/OR hoping to find a supplement that includes the wonderful amino acids found from red meat, this brand is my go-to for top notch quality testing and performance. You can put it in smoothies, soups and stews for your ease.
I was both surprised and encouraged as I set out to learn if bone broth’s popularity was well-merited. I conclude my research at this point in high esteem for bone broth and am ready to start incorporating it into my diet again. While I think there are many other components to healthy and healing diet, and that no one thing can really heal someone from endometriosis, I am intrigued by the long-term research and positive reviews.
Do you suffer from a chronic condition or endometriosis? Has bone broth been one of your go-tos? Please comment below!
Choi SY; Kim WG; Ko EJ; Lee YH; Kim BG; Shin HJ; Choi YS; Ahn JY; Kim BJ; Lee HJ; “Effect of High Advanced-Collagen Tripeptide on Wound Healing and Skin Recovery after Fractional Photothermolysis Treatment.” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25283252/.
Morell, Sally Fallon. Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World. p. 102.
Jockers, Dr., et al. “10 Reasons to Use Bone Broth.” DrJockers.com, 1 Mar. 2021, https://drjockers.com/10-reasons-use-bone-broth/.
Grandison, Richard C, et al. “Amino-Acid Imbalance Explains Extension of Lifespan by Dietary Restriction in Drosophila.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Dec. 2009, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2798000/.
Wald A, Adibi SA. Stimulation of gastric acid secretion by glycine and related oligopeptides in humans. Am J Physiol. 1982.5(242):G86-G88.