Often referred to as “liquid gold,” bone broth provides many nutrients that are typically difficult to find from outside sources. As you’ll learn in this guide, bone broth benefits can be powerful.
Bone broth is made up of type 2 collagen, which is only found in animal bones and connective tissue. Type 2 collagen is a protein source that improves skin, teeth, and joint health — you might think of it as an anti-aging elixir[*][*][*].
But the bone broth benefits don’t end there.
Drinking bone broth can improve your overall health and wellness. Read on to learn more about the five main benefits that give bone broth its well-deserved nickname of liquid gold.
It’s easy to think that bone broth and other types of animal broths are the same thing. However, the term “broth” in this instance is a misnomer that can be confusing.
Bone broth is stock. Stock is made from boiling down animal bones for many hours, often with veggies for enhanced flavor, until it’s more viscous than broth. As collagen seeps from the bones and joints during the long cooking process, the stock thickens. Here are some of the top bone broth benefits.
1. May Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
Due to its abundance of collagen, consuming bone broth is an excellent way to improve your gut health. The same is also true for gelatin, a cooked-down version of collagen.
Because it’s a rich source of crucial amino acids, collagen is the special ingredient that gives bone broth its ability to reduce inflammation.
Your body breaks down collagen and then uses its components to heal leaky gut by sealing holes caused by inflammation and less healthy bacteria that live in the gut[*].
Collagen is the main structural protein found in the extracellular space of mammal tissues. You have a lot of collagen in your cartilaginous tissues (such as your ears and nose), joints (arms, legs, hips), and other types of tissues, including your tendons, nails, hair, and skin.
Simply put, collagen is the glue that holds your body together.
As you age, your body naturally produces less collagen making it more important to preserve what you do have. This is where collagen supplements may come in handy. They may reduce the breakdown of tissue and other cells — especially the breakdown of collagen itself[*].
There are two specific amino acids found in collagen that make it extra potent: proline and glycine. These amino acids work tirelessly to help heal damaged cell walls caused by leaky gut syndrome[*].
2. Can Help You Look Younger
The beauty industry has long known about collagen’s many health benefits for skin, hair, and nails.
Despite the role collagen plays in these skin health benefits, the beauty creams with collagen additives don’t do as much as they claim. Why? The intact collagen molecules in these creams are too large to be absorbed through your skin.
However, consuming collagen in the form of bone broth is another story. Collagen consumed in bone broth is broken down and absorbed by your digestive system and can improve the appearance of your skin and nails[*][*][*][*][*].
In one study, skin elasticity levels in elderly women increased significantly after just four weeks of consuming collagen[*].
Increasing your intake of bone broth might also reduce the appearance of cellulite. In one study, collagen ingestion led to a “decrease in the degree of [visible] cellulite and a reduced skin waviness on thighs” of the participants[*].
Drinking collagen in the form of bone broth (unlike collagen-rich creams that are applied topically) may increase skin elasticity, strength, and smoothness[*].
3. Boosts Your Immune System
There’s a reason for the warm chicken soup cravings you get when you’re feeling under the weather. Your body is craving comfort and something to help it heal. As it turns out, bone broth can give you a similar experience to chicken soup without the carbs from the noodles.
The main difference between bone broth and chicken soup is that bone broth is loaded with bioavailable collagen — that is, collagen that’s been extracted from bone marrow during the slow simmering process required to make bone broth.
But how does collagen boost your immune system?
One study found that collagen (type 4) levels in blood serum (that’s the non-oxygen carrying part of blood) were significantly lower in patients with chronic inflammatory disease[*].
Basically, this all boils down to:
- Low collagen levels may equal increased risk for disease.
- High collagen levels may contribute to overall health and wellness.
It stands to reason that eating collagen-rich foods (like bone broth) can be a viable way to restore collagen levels in your blood and improve important cellular repair processes. This, in turn, can enhance gut function and boost your immune system.
Tip: If you’re sick and have no appetite, but don’t want to drop out of ketosis, a warm cup of bone broth like Kettle and Fire’s chicken or beef bone broth may help get you back to your normal, fat-burning self.
4. May Reduce Joint Pain and Arthritis
Consuming the very nutrients that make up your bones, joints, and connective tissues is a scientifically proven way to enhance bone and joint health[*].
When your body has all the essential building blocks it needs — including nutrients, vitamins, cofactors, and proteins — it’s much easier to protect, maintain, and rebuild bone, joint, and surrounding connective tissues.
But when you can’t get enough from your diet, bone broth and collagen supplements may help.
Bone broth is jam-packed with crucial nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, and magnesium. Plus, it contains key amino acids — like glycine and proline — clinically proven to accumulate in cartilage[*][*].
Research shows that having abundant glycine and proline in cartilage may lead to reduced pain and inflammation, and better joint mobility[*].
In one study, joint pain was significantly reduced by consuming collagen-rich foods and supplements. This finding is consistent for joint pain issues from multiple causes, including running, walking, and weight lifting — and may even decrease pain at rest[*].
Even if you’re not an athlete, you can still benefit from consuming bone broth.
The mechanism of how it works at the intracellular and intercellular levels is still a grey area. However, scientists have traced these benefits directly back to dietary collagen as the main factor in improving these health issues[*][*][*][*].
Collagen intake has also been shown to significantly increase bone mineral density, which is especially important for postpartum, menopausal, and older women who may produce lower levels of estrogen. Reduced estrogen may make it harder to maintain sufficient bone and joint health[*].
5. Might Improve Sleep Quality
If you want better sleep quality without having to turn to prescription or over-the-counter drugs, bone broth may be the answer.
The glycine in bone broth may help to enhance sleep quality — especially when paired with magnesium and calcium[*].
One study revealed that oral ingestion of glycine could improve more than just sleep quality, including[*]:
- Sleep efficacy (the amount of time asleep)
- Sleep onset times
- Daytime alertness
- Performance of memory recognition tasks
Now that you’ve read about bone broth benefits, you’re probably wondering how you can make homemade bone broth on your own. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. You can follow this bone broth recipe or try the simple recipe below.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Four pounds of beef bones (even better from grass-fed beef) with marrow, chopped
- Two celery stalks, chopped
- Two onions, chopped
- Four garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- A variety of herbs of your choice
- About 18 cups of water (just enough to cover the bones)
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
Add all the ingredients together in a large pot and let it sit for 30 minutes — this allows the apple cider vinegar to draw the minerals from the bones.
Once that’s done, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 48 hours. Alternatively, you could use a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
It’s easy to make bone broth, but if you don’t have the time, there are plenty of ready-made options. Just be sure there are no hidden sugars or other carbs in the ingredient list, so you can maximize your bone broth benefits.
Whether you cook it at home or buy it at the grocery store, bone broth is an easy way to add more wholesome nutrition to your keto diet plan.
Enjoy a hot cup of keto bone broth in the morning for a light breakfast or as an easy meal during the day to get essential nutrients while maintaining ketosis and burning fat.
Check out Perfect Keto’s recipe section for more ideas on how you can incorporate collagen into your daily meals.