How Does Bone Broth Improve Your Health?
There are three elements to a nourishing and medicinal broth. They are dissolved bones, melted bone marrow and thoroughly dissolved cartilage. Each element has unique benefits, so, let’s begin with the benefits of dissolved bones.
Believe it or not, your bones are biochemical “bank accounts” that store and release minerals and proteins every minute of every day. The availability of these tissue resources is essential to almost all of your body’s functions.
Your bones store and release the minerals Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfate, Fluoride and Boron to keep your 60 -80 trillion healthy and happy. Happy knowing that there is always some money in the bank.
All of these minerals, except fluoride, are essential in significant amounts every day from your diet.
Calcium is necessary for healthy nerve conduction, muscle contraction, heart function, stable moods and hormonal balance as well as participating in hundreds of enzyme reactions.
Phosphorus is essential to the activation and regulation of energy production and is essential to healthy the replication of our DNA.
Magnesium is essential in over 300 enzyme pathways and is necessary for the proper use of proteins and fatty acids. It helps our muscles contract and relax properly and ensures that we have healthy nerves. Magnesium deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency in the developed world and a major factor in weakened immunity. Luckily, people who enjoy bone broth regularly are getting more magnesium because the amino acids and increased co-factors help you absorb more from the rest of your diet.
Sodium and Potassium are essential nutrients and also our primary electrolytes. Electrolytes help “pump” fluids in and out of cells, blood vessels and membranes and also ensure proper conduction in nerves, contraction in muscles and the release of signalling molecules like hormones and neurotransmitters. A seasonal approach to maximizing your sodium-potassium pump ensures the proper storage and release of Vitamin D.
Sulphur is also very essential to good health. It helps us build strong connective tissue like cartilage and membranes like our skin. Sulphur also helps with the production of many enzymes, immune system antibodies, hormones and even some of the B vitamins. Sulphur is also essential for your liver to detoxify itself and produce effective bile.
Sorry, Bone Broth is Not a Good Source of Minerals
Although Bone Broth is a source of all of your bones mineral needs in the right proportions, the actual measured amounts are suprisingly low.
Mineral content in mg per cup (250 ml)
- Sodium 127.2 (RDA – 2400)
- Potassium 49.2 (RDA – 4000)
- Calcium 7.7 (RDA – 1000)
- Magnesium 1.5 (RDA – 400)
- Iron 0.2 (RDA – 1000)
- Phosphorus 12.5 (RDA – 1000)
- Chlorine 141.6 (RDA – 1000)
- Copper 0.04 (RDA – 1000)
So, why should you drink Broth if it is so low in minerals?
As a Doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), I have learned a humble respect for the wisdom of Nature and the pure commen sense of some old theories. According to TCM theory, your bones, marrow and brain are where you store all of your bodies needs for both Yang (activating) and Yin (|Restoring) processes. This includes the abundant amount of flexible protein in all bones and every cup of Bone Broth.
Imaging that you are some kind of inner city planner, and your job is to repair the city. (Your body)
What would you do if you suddenly got a small, perhaps 1% increase in your needs for restoring your infrastructure in exactly the proportions of your most important structures? Twice a day, for months in a row?
85% of my patients notice tangible improvements in pain, mobility, styrength, general cognition, and sleep withing three weeks of taking Nutrient Dense Bone Broth.
Any time I am feeling depleted, I take a strong Multi-Mineral and a Trace Mineral supplement with some Vitamin C with my bowl of broth, twice a day.
Besides these essential minerals, Bone Broth also provides, with proper preparation, the most important protein in your body, Collagen. One-quarter of your body’s protein is collagen and it keeps your bones strong, resilient and able to absorb the impacts of sports and falls.
It is important to notice that people with brittle bones tend to focus on increasing their mineral intake, the substances that make bones stronger but possibly more brittle. Without sufficient Collagen, and an abundance of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C, the minerals cannot be deposited into your bones. Think of collagen as the frame, or all of the lumber of a house, and the minerals as the drywall, doors and finishing touches that make a beautiful home.
Collagen is made up of several amino acids, the most interesting being Glycine, Arinine, Glutamine, and Proline.
Glycine helps build your blood cells, strengthens your heart and helps you form your DNA and RNA. It also helps your liver make bile and is an essential component of Glutathione, one of the strongest antioxidants in your body. Glycine is also an important nutrient in balancing your blood sugar when you are hungry, helping you avoid the disorientating symptoms of hypoglycemia. It is also a great calming substance, helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Arginine is another beneficial amino acid found in Bone Broth. Arginine helps release Nitric Oxide, a compound that improves circulation in your body and in your brain. This heal-all can also help lower blood pressure and improve erectile dysfunction and speed up wound healing by increasing collagen deposition in the skin.
Glutamine is an amino acid that is very important during an illness or during a time of healing because it supports your immune and digestive systems. research has shown that Glutamine is important for preventing and healing leaky gut. A 2017 study <?>
Proline, another amino acid in Collagen has been shown to improve memory and prevent or lessen the experience of depression.
Collagen is the substance that makes a good broth so thick and jellylike when it is cold. Collagen is often also called Gelatin. Gelatin has been used as a tonic in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, often extracted from the skins of large animals and shells of shellfish. TCM has a focus on eating nose to tail and using every possible part of the animals we harvest. 100 years ago, Gelatin was all the rage in “new” approaches to healthy eating. It is known to help people digest meats, legumes and starchy foods. Be aware that some modern preparations of gelatin contain MSG.
The most beneficial aspect of Bone Broth is the abundance of Amino Acids. These are the most essential to your health, especially in your later years.
If you want to begin experience the benefits of Bone Broth but cannot buy it locally or make it yourself, I recommend my 3-Minute Nutrient Dense Both Broth. This is my go-to Broth recipe when I am travelling or between batches in my freezer.
3-Minute Bone Broth
Another benefit that we receive from the regular consumption of Bone Broth is from the Bone Marrow.
I always enjoy how surprised new parents are when they watch their young children chewing their way into a chicken bone so that they can suck on the marrow. Something all of your Ancestors did regularly, and something primates do if they come across a carcass.
Bone Marrow is made up of Red Marrow and Yellow Marrow, each supporting your health in different ways.
Red marrow is the store house you rely on to build your red blood cells and white blood cells, possibly two of the most important cells in your body. While still in the marrow some of these cells are stem cells, or structures that are useful in many other ways. Your body needs these precursor molecules to support your blood and immune system.
Yellow bone marrow is mostly made of rich and high energy fats, fat-soluble vitamins and more Collagen.
Bone Marrow is also a source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, Omega-3, and Omega-6 Fatty acids Marrow from beef and lamb also contains Congegated Linoleic Acid (CLA).
The last and, in some ways, most important element of a good bone broth is dissolved cartilage.
Cartilage is made of a group of intricate structures called Glycosaminoglycans or GAG’s. Now there is probably a joke about how you may think GAG’s may taste, but rest assured a good bone broth is delicious.
One of my favorite GAG’s to speak of is N-Acetyl- Glucosamine or NAG. NAG has two very important jobs in our bodies.
First, it is essential for our joints to heal, especially from chronic inflammation like arthritis.
Second, it is the primary molecule that makes up our mucous membrane, or the membrane that keeps us from digesting ourselves. Have you ever thought about that? We can digest meat, we are made of meat (more or less) but we do not digest ourselves.. This is because our body produces a mucous like fluid or film that coats our stomach and intestines.
The integrity of your mucous membrane has an almost unbelievable impact on your health. A strong and well fed mucous membrane keeps us from absorbing the bad kind of oxidized cholesterol as well as a variety of parasites and fungi into our bloodstream. This membrane, with the support of your Lymphatic system make up the greater proportion of our immune systems actual effort.
If this membrane breaks down you are at risk of developing Leaky Gut Syndrome, the suggested cause of all Auto-Immune disease.
Cartilage, as a shock absorbing structure in our bodies, has a necessarily small blood supply in order to keep it dense and strong. This is ensured by very specific enzymes that inhibit the growth of blood vessels. These enzymes have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors and are now an accepted part of treatment, unfortunately as shark cartilage.
It is important to cook a broth long enough to ensure the cartilage dissolves into fluid and mixes in with the dissolved Gelatin. Remember that Cartilage is made up of the same substances that make up our mucous membrane, a membrane and substance that is, by necessity, indigestible. Once the Cartilage is dissolved and dispersed something subtle and almost magical happens. The surface tension or thickness of the broth drops below that of our mucous membrane making it highly absorbable. As well, the tendency of these molecules to attract and absorb water ensures that our digestive enzymes have a maximum surface area to interact with, and ensure that you will immediately begin assimilating the nutrients in the broth.
So, there you have it. A few of the reasons all of our Grandmothers or our ancestor’s Grandmothers almost always had a pot on the stove, or Clay container over the fire, making sure we had good Broth and that we used all of the part of the animals we eat.
Michael Smith is an internationally respected Clinician, Author, and Speaker. Michael practices Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and encourages his patients to follow an Ancestral approach to lifestyle and diet. Dr. Smith has dedicated 25 years to the research and treatment of Chronic Illness and Autoimmune Disease. As an Autoimmune patient, Michael is intimately aware of the devastating impact these conditions can have on your quality of life.
Dr. Smith is also at the leading edge of the treatment strategies, dietary protocols, and the precise lab testing needed to resolve these complex conditions.
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