7 Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth

Bone broth seems to be everywhere these days. People who follow the Paleo diet swear by it, and what used to be something that you would make at home with hours of cooking and effort is now something you can buy in almost any supermarket.

The big question about bone broth is this:

Are there significant health benefits to drinking bone broth or is it all just a bunch of hype?

What we discovered in researching this article is that there are some important health benefits associated with bone broth. Here are 7 of the most impressive.

is bone broth good for you

#1: Bone Broth is Highly Nutritious

Let’s start with the basics. Bone broth devotees claim that bone broth, which is made from the bones of cows, chickens, and other animals, contains nutrients necessary for human health. It is impossible to provide a “one size fits all” list of nutrients in bone broth because they’ll vary from recipe to recipe. So, we decided to look at one brand of commercially available bone broth as a test.

Brodo is a broth company located in New York City. According to their website, their beef broth contains:

  • 10 grams of protein per cup
  • 5 grams of carbohydrates per cup
  • Potassium
  • Proline
  • Glycine
  • Glutamine
  • Arginine

What we can tell from this is that Brodo’s bone broth is an excellent source of protein, and a good source of the amino acids proline, glycine, glutamine, and arginine. It’s also a decent source of potassium and it’s naturally low in carbohydrates. That makes it a good option for people following a keto or low-carb diet.

#2: Bone Broth May Reduce Joint Pain

One of the most widely-touted health benefits of drinking bone broth is that its high collagen content can help to reduce chronic and acute joint pain. Joint pain can be related to age as well as to autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

We found a study from 2018 that looked specifically at how drinking chicken broth affected temporomandibular disorder (TMD) in rats. TMD is caused by prolonged jaw opening and can result in serious pain in the jaw joint.

The study concluded that drinking chicken broth reduced nociception (the detection of painful stimuli) and the expression of a protein called kinase (PKA). Drinking enriched chicken broth reduced PKA expression and led to a reduction in overall pain and discomfort.

Additional studies are needed, including studies on humans, and it’s not yet known whether bone broth might be effective against arthritis. But the signs are encouraging.

#3: Bone Broth May Combat Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis associated with aging. Over time, the collagen in our joints decreases ass does the body’s ability to synthesize collagen. There’s no shortage of collagen supplements and collagen-enriched products on the market.

People who advocate drinking bone broth say that it can combat osteoarthritis because of its rich collagen content. We found a 2016 study from the journal Nutrition that looked at the effect of a collagen supplement on osteoarthritis of the knee.

benefits of bone broth

The researchers took a group of 190 volunteers. One-third of the participants were given a supplement of undenatured type II collagen derived from chicken cartilage. One third were given a supplement that contained glucosamine and chondroitin, while the final third received a placebo.

At the end of 180 days, the participants were evaluated using the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). The researchers concluded that UC supplementation resulted in a significant improvement of all three factors of the WOMAC scale: pain, stiffness, and physical function.

#4: Bone Broth Combats Inflammation in the Gut and Leaky Gut Syndrome

The fourth significant benefit of drinking bone broth is that consuming it may reduce inflammation in the digestive system and heal the gut. Considering the prevalence of leaky gut syndrome, a condition that causes digestive issues, bacterial infections, and fatigue, there are many who would be grateful for a readily-available fix for their symptoms.

We identified a 2017 study that looked at the effects of taking glutamine as a way of protecting the gut. The study noted that depletion of glutamine could lead to increased permeability of the stomach and intestinal linings.

By contrast, taking glutamine helped to improve gut barrier function in people who had experienced a deterioration of gut health. They also concluded that taking glutamine preemptively could help prevent future issues with gut permeability.

#5: Bone Broth May Reduce Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects between 10% and 15% of people worldwide, with 25% of those experiencing serious symptoms of IBS. One of the primary benefits of bone broth is that it can help reduce the symptoms of IBS, which include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Bone Broth Helps Irritable Bowel Syndrome

We found a 2017 study that looked specifically at the role of amino acids in reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Specifically, it looked at three of the amino acids found in bone broth: glutamine, glutamate, and arginine.

The researchers concluded that there is a reason to believe that these amino acids can have a beneficial effect on people who have irritable bowel syndrome, although they also noted that the wide variance in systems means that more research is required. They also noted some additional amino acids – including proline, which is also found in bone broth – could have benefits to the immune system.

#6: Bone Broth May Give Skin a More Youthful Appearance

Bone broth contains a high concentration of collagen, a protein that is the major building block of skin. In young people, the collagen structure of the skin is strong, giving skin a smooth, wrinkle-free appearance. As we get older, the amount of collagen in our bodies decreases and skin may wrinkle as a result.

A 2018 study in the journal Nutrients looked at the effects of collagen supplementation on skin by evaluating changes in human skin hydration, wrinkling, and elasticity. Participants were given 1000 milligrams of low-molecular-weight collagen peptide (LMWCP) or a placebo for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks, the researchers made a visual assessment and assigned scores based on three parameters of skin wrinkling. They found that skin hydration was significantly higher in the study group than in the control group. They also found that the appearance of wrinkles was reduced, and there were minor improvements in skin elasticity as well. They noted there were no significant negative side effects associated with taking collagen.

The takeaway here is that drinking bone broth with a high collagen content helps to improve skin hydration and improve the appearance of wrinkles. It may also result in improvements in the overall elasticity of skin.

#7: Bone Broth Promotes Healthy Sleep

Insomnia is an issue that can cause a myriad of health problems, including irritability, weight gain, compromised immunity, headaches, and memory loss. Many who suffer from insomnia want a natural way to improve their sleep – and bone broth may be the answer.

As we mentioned earlier, bone broth is an excellent source of the amino acid glycine. We found a 2015 study that looked specifically at the sleep-inducing potential of glycine.

The researchers administered glycine to rats in a controlled environment. They found that the rats who were given glycine fell asleep more quickly and experienced more non-REM sleep than the rats who were given a placebo… They also found a correlation between glycine and increased periods of brief awakening – something they noted requires additional study.

They also noted that glycine appeared to reduce body temperature in the rats who received it. A dip in body temperature is normal before sleep, and they speculated that the two effects (lower body temperature and improved sleep) were related. More study is needed, but the results are certainly interesting.

Closing Thoughts

Some critics of the Paleo diet are dismissive of the claims that the diet’s proponents make about nutrition. That may be because they dislike the fact that both the diet’s creator and many of its followers dismiss the medical community’s take on diet and embrace a lifestyle that’s meant to emulate our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Our take is that there’s a lot of good in the Paleo diet, especially as it encourages people to eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods. It can be a good option for people who have a problem with inflammation and weight gain.

Bone broth is rich in nutrients, many of which have proven health benefits. There’s some question about whether dietary collagen has all the health benefits attributed to it since it must first go through the digestive system.

is Bone broth good for you

That said, the seven benefits we’ve outlined here are certainly impressive. Bone broth is readily available and provides several important nutrients. People who suffer from gut troubles, insomnia, and persistent joint pain will likely benefit the most from adding bone broth to their daily routine. It’s also worth noting that drinking broth is a low-calorie way to fill up your stomach and reduce the risk of overeating, especially at night.