‘Old News Can Be good News’

Bone Broth may be old news for some, but I thought there may be some people out there that have not heard about all of the powerful benefits of Bone Broth.

One of my favourite subjects to share with people is how the diets of our ancestors were so much healthier than our modern processed food diet.

They may not have had the science to know why, but our ancestors sure knew what they were doing. A great example is bone broth.

This special broth is made by simmering the bones and joints of larger animals like Bison, Elk, Deer and, of course, Cows for 24 – 48 hours. As well, there are broths made from the leftover bones, whole carcasses, necks, and feet of chickens and turkeys and then there are broths made from the bones, heads and shells of seafood and shellfish.

The Three Elements of a Nourishing Broth

There are three beneficial elements or aspects of a good Bone Broth. They are dissolved bones, melted bone marrow, and thoroughly dissolved cartilage. Each element has unique benefits.

Bone Marrow is the easiest to understand. 100% Nutrient Dense Fat! It is best to melt the marrow slightly in your oven and then put it in a spicy soup.

Believe it or not, your bones are biochemical “bank accounts” that store and release minerals and proteins that are essential to almost all of your body’s functions.

Your Bones Store and Release Minerals

Specifically, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfate, Fluoride and Boron.

All of these minerals, except Fluoride, are essential in significant amounts every day from our diets.

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 your 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 regularly eat bone broth are absorbing 130 to over 2,500 percent more magnesium than people on a modern diet.

Sodium and Potassium are essential nutrients and also your 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. In an Ancestral Diet, there is a sodium-potassium pump that occurs throughout the year that ensures the proper storage and release of Vitamin D.

Sulphur is also very essential to good health. It helps you build strong connective tissue like cartilage and membranes like your skin and fascia. 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 an Abundant 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 surprisingly 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 to have a lot of respect for the wisdom of Nature and the pure common sense of some old theories. According to TCM theory, your bones, marrow and brain are where you store all of your body’s 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.

Imagine 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, strength, general cognition, and sleep within 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.

Bone Marrow, Anyone?

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 storehouse 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 state, some of these cells are made of structures that are useful in many ways.  Your body needs these precursor molecules to support your blood and your 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 Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).

Bone Broth also Provides Collagen

The most important protein in your body

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 your bones stronger but possibly more brittle. Without sufficient collagen, and an abundance of Vitamin D and Vitamin C these minerals cannot be deposited into your Bank Account 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.

The last and, in some ways, the 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 favourite GAG’s to speak of is N-Acetyl- Glucosamine or NAG. NAG has two very important jobs in your body.

First, it is essential for your joints to heal, especially from chronic inflammation like arthritis. Second, it is the primary molecule that makes up your mucous membrane or the membrane that keeps you from digesting yourself. Have you ever thought about that? Humans can digest meat, we are made of meat (more or less) but we do not digest ourselves… This is because your body produces a mucous-like fluid or film that coats your stomach and intestines. Cartilage is what dogs LOVE about bones!

Cartilage is a Shock Absorbing Structure in Your Body

It 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 tumours and are now an accepted part of treatment. This has to do with Angiogenesis, which I will cover in another article.

It is important to cook a broth long enough to ensure the cartilage dissolves into the fluid and mixes in with the dissolved gelatin. It is important to know that cartilage is made up of the same substances that make up your 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 your mucous membrane making it highly absorbable.

As well, the tendency of these molecules to attract and absorb water ensures that your digestive enzymes have the maximum surface area to interact with all of your yummy broth and ensure that you will immediately begin assimilating the nutrients in the broth and the rest of your meal.

Cartilage Contains Life-Supporting Amino Acids

Collagen is made up of several amino acids, the most interesting being Glycine, Arginine, 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.

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 (below).

This is my go-to Broth recipe when I am travelling or between batches in my freezer.

3-Minute Bone Broth

For 2 portions:
2 cups homemade or store-bought broth
2 Tbsp Wakame kelp
1/2 lemon – squeezed and peel added
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp Beef Gelatin
1 Tbsp Hydrolyzed Collagen
1 tsp L-Glutamine
1 tsp N-A-G (N-Acetyl-Glucosamine)
Bring the broth to a simmer. Add the lemon, kelp, and gelatin.
Simmer for 3 minutes and season to taste. 
Stirring constantly, the remaining ingredients.
Pour into a bowl and enjoy some traditional slurping!
The integrity of your mucous membrane has a profound impact on your health.

A strong and well-fed mucous membrane keeps you from absorbing the bad kind of chemicals, parasites, micro bacteria and fungi (and their poop) into your bloodstream. This membrane, with the support of your Lymphatic system, make up 75% of your immune system’s actual daily effort.

Daily bowls (or two large mugs) of bone broth – or more – has become a social movement for healing. longevity, and healthy skin.

If this membrane breaks down you are at risk of developing Leaky Gut Syndrome, a suggested trigger for Autoimmune Dysfunction.

Enjoy your bone broth, some antiinflammatory meals and listen to your body.

So, there you have it!

A few of the reasons your Grandmothers or your 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 parts of the animals we eat.


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    Michael Smith is an internationally respected Clinician, Author, and Speaker.

    Michael practices Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and encourages his patients to follow an Ancestral approach to lifestyle and diet. Dr. Smith has dedicated the last 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.