Bone broth is one of the latest trendy foods hyped on the internet, touted as a cure-all for just about every medical condition. You can make it yourself, buy it in liquid or powdered form or even take a bone broth pill, but does it live up to the hype?
What It Is and How It’s Made
Bone broth is a stock made from animal bones and cartilage, typically from chicken or beef. Unlike chicken or beef broth which are prepared with meat on the bones, the meat is removed from bones before simmering in water to make bone broth. As the bones are cooked in water, nutrients like protein and potassium leech from the bones.
The Health Claims
A quick internet search reveals an almost endless list of miracle cures attributed to bone broth. According to some, bone broth can boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, decrease the time it takes to heal, and relieve allergies. Proponents claim that the collagen in bone broth can ease osteoporosis and arthritis symptoms, relieve skin conditions, make hair and nails stronger, and even make skin look younger.
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The Actual Facts
There’s very little research on bone broth currently, so most of the health claims remain unsupported by scientific evidence. Bone broth does contain significant amounts of protein, potassium, and sodium and much smaller amounts of other nutrients like calcium. Collagen is the main protein in bone, so bone broth can be an excellent source of collagen. However, consuming collagen does not directly transfer that collagen to your skin or bones since your body breaks it down into amino acids during digestion and then uses those amino acids throughout the body as needed.
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing special about the protein in bone broth. In fact, most Americans get more protein than they need. Rather than spend money on expensive bone broth liquids, powders or pills, get your protein from lean animal or plant sources and focus on a balanced diet that also includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and heart healthy fats. A varied diet that includes these foods will naturally includes nutrients like vitamins A and C, both of which help with collagen production.
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