Health or Hype: Why is Everyone Drinking Bone Broth?


Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, whitneyinchicago

The Paleo community swears by it , Kobe Bryant reportedly drinks it to keep him on top of his game, and your grandmother was probably making it 70+ years ago.

It’s soup. Beef stock? Chicken stock? Yes.

While bone broth is not new, the trend of it as a nourishing, cure all, superfood is.

Broth drinkers claim endless benefits – that it boosts immunity, aids digestion, promotes healthier bones and joints, and even better looking skin and hair. The explosion in popularity has it being sipped by the mug, or used as a base for other dishes.

Bone Broth: What’s In It

Bone broth is the product of simmering animal bones in water over hours at a time, usually alongside various vegetables. According to Paleo Leap, when you simmer the bones, the heat and water break down collagen – the protein matrix in bones, tendons, ligaments, and other flexible tissues. The result is a nutrient-dense liquid full of:

  • A protein called gelatin. Gelatin contains proline and glycine, which are building block amino acids for rebuilding your own connective tissue (tendons, ligaments). For, say, a power lifter, this connective tissue is important for overall health and strength. Glycine also stimulates the production of stomach acid to help aid proper digestion.
  • Glutamine, another amino acid found in bone broth. Glutamine is said to maintain the function of the intestinal wall, preventing damage from occurring. Read more on gut health here.
  • Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as Glucosamine, is a family of carbohydrates found in bones and connective tissue that show interesting effects in reducing joint pain.

Bone Broth: Health or Hype?  Or Both?

Are the nutrients in bone broth valuable to the body? Yes. It’s highly recommended to get your vitamins from eating whole, fresh foods because of the greater nutritional value, fiber, and phytochemicals, according to the Mayo Clinic. Adding bone broth to your diet can be a great vehicle to get those nutrients, especially if they would otherwise go passed over.

Are they a cure-all? No.

There is no silver bullet to optimal health, as much as food marketing and and scores of health celebrity endorsements would love to have you believe.

The best defense of your health is a good offense. On the football field, it’s not just one person operating solo or in a vacuum – it’s a team effort. So how is your offense doing?

Regular physical activity, movement throughout the day, regularly including nutrient-dense foods in your nutrition, and minimizing processed foods in your diet are all big pieces of the overall puzzle when it comes to building the foundation of a healthy body.

Bottom Line

When it comes to any “magic cure-all” food, it’s always valuable to ask if there are other foods with similar nutritional benefits. Educate yourself on what other foods have lots of, for example, magnesium. Practicing educating yourself will help you become autonomous in your food choices, rather than have analysis paralysis because you don’t have the tools to make a truly informed decision.

How to Make Your Own Bone Broth

At WellnessFX, we like DIY stuff. We’ve made our own kombucha, grown our own sprouts, and we explore our sauerkraut recipes weekly. Here are three bone stock recipes to get you started–if you don’t want to shell out $4 / cup.

Easiest: Nom Nom Paleo’s simple crockpot recipe will save you from spending too much time in the kitchen,if that’s not your thing. The ingredient list is short and the process is simple. #BrassTacks

Easy + Educational: This bone stock primer of sorts from Paleo Leap tells you the basics that you’d need to know to cobble together your own from what’s in your pantry, and details the method behind the madness.

Probably pretty tasty: You can also get fancy with this more laborious recipe for beef bone broth, from the NY Times.

To read more blog posts from us on a variety of health vs. hype topics, check out:

How WellnessFX Can Help

WellnessFX currently offers tests for tracking important minerals (such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron), and vitamins (such as vitamin D, B9, and B12). Testing and benchmarking will give you an accurate picture of your health.

Get a Blood Test

Check with your doctor or a WellnessFX practitioner if you’re considering multivitamins and supplements, to help you find the right balance that is optimal for your own biochemistry. Don’t forget that if you’re a WellnessFX member, we now offer direct access to ThorneFX supplements.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.