I like making broth or stock using bones. I most often use it to form the base for the soups and stews such as oxtail stew. Homemade broths, made my simmering bones and attached tissues in water often with the addition of vinegar, vegetables and other flavoring agents, have lately become quite fashionable again among certain groups of people interested in traditional food. The flavour imparted by a good bone stock is far superior to that of a commercially bought stock cube. While there are a variety of ways of making stock, the practice of including bones and simmering for many hours is credited with forming a mineral rich stock on various sites around the web. A brief search online will uncover claims that bone broth is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. However, when attempting to find the evidence for the basis of these recommendations it soon becomes apparent that very little actual scientific measurement of the mineral content of bone broths has taken place, the recommendations apparently being based on the fact that bone contains minerals and so by the process of cooking that broth should too.
The first obvious place to look was the USDA National Nutrient Database, which helpfully includes an entry for “Soup, stock, beef, home-prepared”. However, the total lack of details as to the ingredients or quantities used, the cooking time or volumes of liquid added make it difficult to judge how meaningful the results are to any other homemade stock. As it happens, the nutrition listed by the USDA is rather unimpressive with a 240 gram cup of their broth containing only 19, 17 and 64 milligrams of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus respectively. The 444 mg of potassium and 457 mg of sodium are rather higher but without knowing the ingredients these could have come from added vegetables or salt.
For the most comprehensive analysis of traditionally prepared bone broth, it seems we must go all the way back to the year of 1934 and a paper by two stalwarts of the early days of British nutritional science Robert McCance and Elsie Widdowson. Their paper published in the Archives of Diseases of Childhood was inspired by the use of broth as a food for young children (McCance and Widdowson 1934).
“A broth prepared from bones and mixed vegetables appears to be widely used in this country in the feeding of infants, but a search of the literature has failed to reveal any figures giving a complete analysis of such a broth. It was thought, therefore, that an investigation of its manufacture and chemical composition would form a useful study.”
They even helpfully provide a traditional recipe for this broth as used in Britain at this time.
“The bones are chopped to expose the marrow, covered with water containing a small amount of vinegar, and simmered for 4 to 9 hours. Chopped vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, greens, and onions are added, and the simmering is continued for a further hour. The bones and vegetables are then strained off, and the broth is allowed to set to a jelly. Most recipes advise that the final volume should be 1 pint per pound of bones.”
To investigate this they took some veal bones, trimmed of fat, and chopped up to expose the marrow inside. Of these bones 400 grams were each placed into four flasks and 1 litre of water added to each. To the first 3 flasks was added 1, 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar and the contenst boiled gently for 7 hours taking samples for analysis at 1, 2, 4 and 7 hours. To the fourth flask was added 1 tablespoon of vinegar and left unheated. The results of nitrogen and potassium are shown below.
They report that the addition of vinegar made no difference to the extraction of nitrogen or potassium. You can see from the graph above that the amount of nitrogen, in this case protein in the form of gelatine, in the broth increased linearly over the 7 hours, while little was extracted at room temperature. On the other hand almost as much potassium was extracted at room temperature and pretty much all the potassium had been extracted after a couple of hours.
They also found that calcium and magnesium did not increase further after the first hour with a 10 mg of calcium and 2 mg of magnesium being extracted from each 100 grams of bone. Surprisingly they state that the addition of vinegar, even at 4 tablespoons, did not make any difference to the calcium extracted from the bones. The authors state that;
“This was unexpected, but acetic acid is a weak acid, and the calcium phosphate in the bones is encased in collagen and other protective colloids which probably act as buffers and prevent the acid having any appreciable effects.”
The mineral composition of two separate broths made with just water, bones and vinegar and simmered for 7 hours are shown in the table below. The figures are given for 1 cup (240 ml) of broth as this seemed a more intuitive figure than for 100 ml.
Broth made with just bones
(mg per 240ml)
As you can see from this table the levels of minerals in a 240 ml cup of this broth was very low and as the authors point out would contribute little minerals to the overall diet. The authors of this study also measured the mineral content after vegetables had been cooked in the broth and this was a little higher but not greatly so.
This apparent lack of minerals entering the broth from the bone seems disappointing. Another study from the same period reported large amounts of calcium was extracted into the sauce from traditionally cooked Chinesesweet-sour pork spareribs (Hoh et al 1933). However, the acidity of the vinegar based sauce was much greater than found in broth, even with vinegar added, which may explain the difference.
A limitation of the McCance andWiddowson study was that it was limited to only seven hours, although they claim that all the minerals had been extrated in a shorter time than that. Some current recommendations call for much longer cooking times for broth, up to 24 hours in some cases. As it happens another more recent study from 1994 investigated longer cooking times, although only for calcium.
Usefully titled “Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking”, this study compared the calcium content of broth made with bone and distilled water, bone with vegetables in water and just vegetables in water (Rosen et al 1994). In this case the bone used was a neck vertebra bone from a cow that had been split lengthwise to expose the interior to the water.
The graph below shows the change in calcium content of broth cooked with bone and distilled water for twenty-four hours.
As you can see from this graph even after 24 hours cooking rather disappointingly there was almost no calcium in the water. Even after 24 hours a cup of this broth would only contain an insignificant 1.5 mg of calcium.
Next these researchers cooked another bone in a broth filled with vegetables including tomato puree, onion, potato, carrots, parsnips, celery and stewed tomatoes made up to 2 liters with water. The calcium content of this broth is shown below.
This time with the vegetables producing a modestly acidic pH of 4.5 the amount of calcium in the broth increased to a higher level. Most of this increase occurred in the first 8 hours of cooking. The calcium increased to 37.5 mg in a 240 ml cup of broth after 24 hours of cooking.An additional experiment showed that this increase was not due to calcium from the vegetables. While better than in the previous study this broth would not supply more than a modest amount of your daily calcium requirements.
The authors mention in their discussion another study, that I cannot access, from 1989 that found that reportedly found no increase in calcium with a less acidic pH of 5.6 in their broth (Hadfield et al1989). This is in contrast to the previously mentioned study on Chinese spare ribs that produced a very acidic pH of 3.2 in their sauce. So perhaps a level of acidity below that possible in bone broth is needed to extract a meaningful amount of calcium. These results suggest that the at first apparently very low mineral content listed by the USDA Nutrient Database may actually be accurate.
In conclusion, the evidence for the amount of minerals found in traditionally made bone broth is rather limited. What evidence there is outlined here does not support the claim that bone broth is a good source of dietary minerals.
Hadfield L C,Beard LP andLeonard-Green T K(1989)Calcium content of soup stocks with added vinegar.Journal of the American Diabetic Association.89(12):1810-1. (Pubmed).
Hoh P W,Williams J C and Pease C S (1933)Possible sources of calcium andphosphorusin the Chinese diet.The Journal of Nutrition. (J Nutr).
“That milk is used only for infants and invalids is not merelya prejudice but a dietary practice quite universal among theChinese. The absence of milk and dairy products in the nativeChinese diet has drawn continuous interest because of thesharp contrast in the diet of the occidental world where milkis used freely. This fact has led to an inquiry regarding thesource of calcium particularly in the Chinese diet. Soy beanand some of its products have been found to be high incalcium and phosphorus. Definite information is lacking asregards the physiological utilization of soy bean as the mainsource of supply of these elements. Pittman ( ’32) has foundthat even an intake of 4 ounces, dry weight, of navy beansdaily was unable to maintain a calcium balance. However, Adolph and Chen (’32) have reported that an equal calciumintake supplied by cows’ milk or soy bean curd produced thesame effect on calcium equilibrium for the Chinese adult. Inaddition to the liberal supply of vegetables usually providedthe Chinese use fowl, pork and fish as commonly in the dietas Americans use milk and cheese. Recognizing the low content of calcium in meat in contrast to milk, the question arisesas to the availability of calcium from the bone in such meatdishes as effected by the method of preparation and way of
McCance R A and Widdowson E M (1934) Bone and vegetable broth. Archives of disease in childhood.9(52): 251–258. (Pubmed).
“A broth prepared from bones and mixed vegetables appears to be widelyused in this country in the feeding of infants, but a search of the literaturehas failed to reveal any figures giving a complete analysis of such a broth.It was thought, therefore, that an investigation of its manufacture andchemical composition would form a useful study.
The broth is usually prepared as follows:
The bones are chopped to expose the marrow, covered with water containinga small amount of vinegar, and simmered for 4 to 9 hours. Chopped vegetablessuch as potatoes, carrots, greens and onions are added, and the simmering iscontinued for a further hour. The bones and vegetables are then strained off, andthe broth is allowed to set to a jelly. Most recipes advise that thc final volumeshould be 1 pint per pound of bones.”
Rosen H N, Salemme H, Zeind A J, Moses A C, Shapiro A and Greenspan S L (1994)Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking.Calcified Tissue International.54(6):486-488. (Pubmed).
“Because low dietary calcium intake may accelerate bone loss, patients often are advised to increase their dietary intake of calcium. However, some patients may be unable to tolerate good calcium sources such as dairy products. We postulated that the calcium content of soups and stews could be increased by prolonged cooking with a beef bone. Three experiments were done to prove this theory: (1) a bone soup made with a beef bone and distilled water, cooked for 24 hours; (2) a bone-vegetable soup cooked the same way; and (3) a vegetable soup made the same way but without the bone. It was concluded that prolonged cooking of a bone in soup increases the calcium content of the soup when cooked at an acidic, but not at a neutral pH.”
Bone broth is a good choice to include in your diet along with all the other foods that fight inflammation. Organic chicken or beef bone broths (or make your own) have many beneficial nutrients that will help improve bones and joints, along with all the other benefits.Does bone broth have enough nutrients? ›
Bone broth is rich in minerals that help build and strengthen your bones. It also contains many other healthy nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.Does bone broth prevent osteoporosis? ›
This broth contains bone-strengthening minerals like phosphorous and calcium, which are the building blocks for healthy bones. Getting sufficient quantities can also help ward off osteoporosis.How much bone broth is enough? ›
There's really no such thing as too much bone broth, but you can tailor your bone broth consumption for your specific health goals. For muscle gain and weight loss drink 2-6 cups daily. For gut health, try at least 2 cups of bone broth each day. For skin conditions and/or joint health, drink 2-4 cups per day.What is the downside of bone broth? ›
Although bone broth is considered healthy, it can do more harm than good to certain people. Here's why, there are side effects that some drinkers experience like gas, bloating, constipation and stomach pain.What do doctors think of bone broth? ›
"There's no evidence that bone broth has greater health benefits than any other broths," says L.J. Amaral, a clinical dietitian in the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute Patient and Family Support Program. "At the same time, if my patients are consuming it in moderation, then I don't have a problem with it."Is bone broth really a Superfood? ›
Bone broth is hailed as a superfood as its preparation (see below) allows minerals and proteins to be drawn out of bones that form the basis of the soup. These constituents include collagen – the jelly-like consistency in bone broth.Is bone broth high in minerals? ›
Surprisingly, bone broth is a poor source of minerals and nutrients. Recent USDA figures found calcium ranges from 9 to 14 mg per cup of broth. For comparison, a cup of milk contains around 300 mg of calcium, or 30 times more than bone broth.Why isn't bone broth a good source of protein? ›
Bone broth is not a complete protein because it does not have enough of the 9 essential amino acids to be considered complete.How can I reverse osteoporosis and increase my bone density? ›
- Eat foods that support bone health. Get enough calcium, vitamin D, and protein each day. ...
- Get active. Choose weight-bearing exercise, such as strength training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. ...
- Don't smoke. ...
- Limit alcohol consumption.
Because bone broth contains a concentrated amount of compounds like collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin, adding a few servings of bone broth to your diet can have a powerful impact on joint health and inflammation. Ideally, you should aim for around two to four cups of bone broth per day.Is bone broth an anti inflammatory? ›
Anti-Inflammation: The amino acids found in bone broth have been proven to fight inflammation. The body's inflammatory response can be temporary, like swelling after a minor injury, or a chronic condition that can lead to serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and some types of cancer.How long does bone broth take to heal gut? ›
How long does it take to see results from bone broth? You'll notice results from bone broth within the first 7 days if you drink bone broth daily. Many of our guests first notice that they 'feel better' and they have more energy first. Gradually they will notice their gut health improve between 7-14 days.Can too much bone broth be harmful? ›
While bone broth is generally considered safe to consume, there are some potential risks to be aware of. Lead contamination. Some studies have found elevated levels of lead in bone broths, which can be harmful to health if consumed in large amounts.How long does it take for bone broth to work on your body? ›
For most benefits, it takes about a week to see results from bone broth. You may start noticing energy differences very quickly, during your first day of drinking. Immediately you will notice that it is helping to keep you full and reduce food cravings. This is especially true if you are following the bone broth diet.What happens when you drink bone broth for a week? ›
Drinking bone broth for a week will have many benefits to your health. Many guests experience better digestion and more stable energy throughout the day. Skin blemishes begin to clear up and joints and tendons start to feel better. It is important to note that this beverage is not miracle cure.Does bone broth raise cholesterol? ›
Both pork and chicken broth are high in selenium which can in fact help prevent and manage cardiovascular diseases, including high cholesterol. The collagen and amino acids in bone broth have also been proven to lower blood pressure in the same way as ACE inhibitors.Is bone broth healthier than collagen? ›
The Verdict? If you're looking to seal up the gut lining and reduce inflammation the cheapest way possible, opt for collagen. You can take it on the go and it'll dissolve easily. But, if you want all the nutrients provided by high quality protein, then bone broth is the way to go.Why do I feel so good after drinking bone broth? ›
It's clear that drinking bone broth first thing in the morning has many benefits, including sustained energy, healing and sealing your gut, providing a protein boost, mood-boosting effects and even less cravings.What kind of bone broth is healthiest? ›
If you're looking for more support for your joints, then Chicken Bone Broth Collagen is the best bone broth for you. Chicken bones are rich in type II collagen, which supports healthy joints and cartilage. This chicken soup-flavored bone broth is a delicious nutritional powerhouse.
Drinking bone broth first thing in the morning is an excellent choice. When you drink bone broth first thing, your body is at it's best, meaning it is able to fully absorb all the powerful nutrients and minerals present. It's also the perfect time to help heal the digestive tract and gut before you start eating.Is there vitamin D in bone broth? ›
Vitamin D: Sipping on a cup of bone broth can also up your levels of vitamin D. “Vitamin D acts not only as a nutrient but also a hormone,” notes Kimszal. “It helps to strengthen bones by maintaining proper mineral levels of calcium and phosphorus so bones can grow and prevent diseases like osteoporosis,” she adds.Does bone broth cleanse your gut? ›
Bone broth is FULL of valuable amino acids, collagen, gelatin, and trace minerals that your body craves. These are all fantastic for healing leaky gut, improving dysbiosis, and keeping your digestive tract in tip-top shape.Which bone broth is best for osteoporosis? ›
As you'll read below, my top choice for a healing bone broth is the chicken bone broth powder from Bluebird Provisions. It is full of joint and bone healing compounds like glucosamine, glycine, chondroitin and collagen.Is bone broth high in zinc? ›
It is full of essential minerals– Bone broth is packed with minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.Does bone broth have enough collagen? ›
Bone broth is an excellent source of collagen. Because it's made from whole foods, collagen from bone broth is highly bioavailable (your body might absorb more of it). Drinking bone broth helps supplement collagen, and provides nutrients to support the body's natural collagen production.Is homemade bone broth a complete protein? ›
People think that Bone Broths are a great source of ample protein, but they are not. They are instead a complete protein, containing all 22 amino acids necessary for full bioavailability of mineral and vitamin absorption.Is bone broth healthier than eating meat? ›
Beef bone broth is better for gut health
An amino acid called glycine. Beef broth has more glycine than chicken because it is made up primarily of type III collagen. Think of glycine as your gut's personal assistant.
Bone broth is different from chicken broth. It is a liquid that has more protein, collagen, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals than chicken broth. Chicken broth may be ok for cooking, but bone broth is much for concentrated and delicious. Bone broth also gives you nutritional benefits, while chicken broth does not.Can you improve bone density after 60? ›
Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and even walking, help the body resist gravity and stimulate bone cells to grow. Strength-training builds muscles which also increases bone strength.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Avoid substance abuse. Don't smoke. If you are a woman, avoid drinking more than one alcoholic drink each day.Has anyone reversed osteoporosis naturally? ›
You cannot reverse bone loss on your own. But there are a lot of ways you can stop further bone loss. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or at a greater risk for developing it, your doctor may recommend certain medications to take.Can bone broth reverse osteopenia? ›
If you are suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis or want to prevent these debilitating conditions, drinking bone broth or using supplemental collagen has been shown to reduce the loss of bone mass and the likelihood of bone fractures significantly.Should I take bone broth in morning or night? ›
Bone broth is beneficial at any time of day, but if you have specific health goals, we recommend strategizing your timing to maximize results. Take bone broth in the morning to support gut health and boost your mood. For detoxification and a stronger immune system, try bone broth in the evening.What are the side effects of daily bone broth? ›
- Stomach upset.
- Increased bowel movements.
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (may trigger IBS)
1. Fatty varieties of fish. Loaded with health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, some varieties of fish, like sardines, salmon, trout and herring, have been associated with reductions in a measure of inflammation called C-reactive protein (CRP).Can bone broth heal joints? ›
Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation – Bone broth is rich in glucosamine—the supplement many people take to help repair joint damage. Consuming glucosamine in the form of bone broth provides the best possible benefits and stimulates the growth of new collagen for healthy joints.What is the best bone broth for anti inflammation? ›
If you're struggling with an inflammation related issue, bone broth is a natural remedy worth trying. Bluebird Provisions is made with high quality ingredients, has the most anti-inflammatory amino acids and a delicious flavor.What are the signs of an unhealthy gut? ›
- Gas, Bloating and Other Stomach Issues. ...
- Unintentional Weight Fluctuations. ...
- Skin Issues. ...
- Moodiness, Irritability and Trouble With Concentration. ...
- Fatigue or Insomnia. ...
- Sugar Cravings.
Bone broth improves intestine and digestive tract health.
This means that nutrients may vary between broths, but many contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc, and more, all of which can improve overall gut health.
Share on Pinterest Bone broth soup is rich in nutrients. Bones themselves are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. Also, brewing connective tissue into bone broth provides the body with natural compounds from the cartilage.Is 2 cups of bone broth a day too much? ›
There's really no such thing as too much bone broth, but you can tailor your bone broth consumption for your specific health goals. For muscle gain and weight loss drink 2-6 cups daily. For gut health, try at least 2 cups of bone broth each day. For skin conditions and/or joint health, drink 2-4 cups per day.What happens if you boil bone broth too long? ›
Gelatin will break down when held over the boiling point (212 F) for an extended period of time, so boiling your broth for hours (or days!) is a bad idea. Boiling too long or too vigorously may break down the gelatin while also producing a cloudy broth.How do I know if bone broth is working? ›
A technically “correct” bone broth is one that, after cooking and cooling, thickens and gels. Like Jello. That lovely gel is a sure sign that your bone broth is the best it can be — full of nourishing, gut-healing gelatin, collagen, minerals, and amino acids.How many days a week should I drink bone broth? ›
For best results we do suggest drinking bone broth every day, but if your budget or lifestyle doesn't allow that, aim for 3+ times a week. If you have specific goals, like building muscle or improving gut health, you may want to drink more broth.Does bone broth speed up metabolism? ›
Bone broth has gained popularity through healing the gut lining and improving overall gut health, but it also helps boost metabolism and the immune system, increase weight loss, detox the body, reduce the appearance of cellulite and promote healthy skin and hair.Is bone broth an inflammatory food? ›
Anti-Inflammation: The amino acids found in bone broth have been proven to fight inflammation. The body's inflammatory response can be temporary, like swelling after a minor injury, or a chronic condition that can lead to serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and some types of cancer.What happens when you drink bone broth every morning? ›
It's clear that drinking bone broth first thing in the morning has many benefits, including sustained energy, healing and sealing your gut, providing a protein boost, mood-boosting effects and even less cravings.How much bone broth should you drink a day for health benefits? ›
It contains gelatin (an amazing nutrient that heals and soothes the gut lining) as well as amino acids like glutamine, glycine, and proline. If you're working to improve your gut health, we'd recommend drinking at least 3 cups of broth a day, ideally with the first being on an empty stomach in the morning.How often should you drink bone broth for health? ›
A three-day bone broth diet is a great way to recover from an inflammatory flare or a week of poor food choices. Drinking bone broth every day is also a great way to kick-start a healthy, gut-healing diet plan like the Paleo diet or low FODMAP diet.
Bone broth is FULL of valuable amino acids, collagen, gelatin, and trace minerals that your body craves. These are all fantastic for healing leaky gut, improving dysbiosis, and keeping your digestive tract in tip-top shape.What does apple cider vinegar do to bone broth? ›
Next, add in a bit of salt and pepper to season the broth (you can add more later to taste). Then add apple cider vinegar, which is added primarily because the acidity breaks down the collagen and makes it more abundant in the broth.Is it better to drink bone broth hot or cold? ›
You should drink bone broth hot if possible. The heat is shown to promote proper digestion as it enters your GI tract. Also, hot beverages are shown to relax you better than cold ones. So if you want to optimal benefits, you need to drink it warm.Does bone broth heal fatty liver? ›
Does bone broth detox the liver? Bone broth detoxifies the liver by providing it with an amino acid called glycine (from collagen content). It is made by your liver, so any extra you get through diet gives your liver something it needs to naturally clean itself.How long does bone broth last in the fridge? ›
Bone broth will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator and up to 12 months frozen. Please keep frozen until ready to use. Bone broth can also be thawed and refrozen in smaller portion sizes for your convenience.Does bone broth count as water intake? ›
Drinking broth throughout the day hydrates the body with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and is a great way to ensure proper hydration.Does bone broth reduce wrinkles? ›
Because bone broth is rich in collagen and may help increase your body's own collagen production, consuming bone broth may increase the elasticity of your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.