Bone Broth has been around for hundreds of years, but in recent times, it has become the latest trend. This article looks at the science to figure out if bone broth helps digestive health.
Table of Contents
What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a broth made from bones with a slight amount of meat on them. It contains proteins, collagen and trace elements of calcium and phosphorus (1).
It is similar to stock, but unlike stock which is simmered for around 1 hour, bone broth is left to simmer for anything between 8 – 24 hours.
What Is The Nutritional Content Of Bone Broth?
Trying to find the nutritional content of bone broth actually proved quite difficult. Yes, there were plenty of websites discussing this topic, but very few reliable sources.
USDA have provided us with this reliable break down based on a ‘slowly simmered, grass fed beef bones and vegetables’ (2).
- 19mg calcium – UK adult general requirements are 700mg /day (3).
- 0.72mg iron – UK adult general requirements are 8.7mg – 14.8mg /day (4)
- 6g protein – may be a source of protein depending on what your requirements are.
- 29 calories – low calories.
Although bone broth does contain micronutrients that our body needs. It is unlikely to contain them in any quantity which would actually benefit us.
What Are The Bone Broth Digestive Health Claims?
- Treats food allergies and intolerances.
- Helps with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Helps to reduce gut inflammation.
- Treats leaky gut syndrome.
Does Bone Broth Help Digestive Health?
At present, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the use of bone broth for digestive health.
The claims that it can help digestive health have been made by unqualified individuals attempting to build links between published data and the ingredients within the broth. These link are far fetched and have resulted in many inaccurate health claims, including that around digestive health.
– Food Allergies & Intolerances?
There is no scientific evidence to prove, support or even suggest that bone broth is able to help with allergies and food intolerances.
– Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
There are studies showing that there are reduced levels of collagen found in Chron’s Disease (an inflammatory bowel condition) (5).
Therefore, one of the claims these unqualified individuals make is that taking bone broth, which contains collagen, will help with Chrons Disease. BUT – there is no science to support this at all.
-Does Gelatine Help Reduce Inflammation In The Gut?
There is a study looking at a medication called gelatin tannate (an anti-diarrhoea medication) (2). In the study they look at the medication’s ability to help with inflammation. Unfortunately, this study is done in vitro (test tube).
The claims around bone broth is that the gelatine in it can help to reduce gut inflammation. Firstly, this study above, does not prove that gelatin tannate would reduce gut inflammation as the test tube environment is entirely different to the human gut. Secondly, the concentration of gelatine in the drug is much higher than that found in bone broth.
-Leaky Gut Syndrome?
A further claim around bone broth’s ability to help the digestive health system is that it can help with leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a made up condition which is again based on no scientific evidence. If you want to find out more about ‘leaky gut syndrome’ check out my recent post here.
- Bone broth will not improve your digestive health.
- However, it does contain many minerals which your body needs, and so it can be useful for general health as part of an everyday balanced diet.
- Bone broth is actually quite low in calories and so as a general rule, I would suggest that it isn’t suitable for a meal alone. Why not boost it by adding chicken and pearl barley?
If You Have Been Having Digestive Symptoms & Want To Get Advice You Can Trust, Contact Me Today.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.