Bone Broth for Gut Health: Is It Really Everything Your Body Needs to Heal?

Key Points:

  • Bone broth is an alleged superfood rich in natural collagen, minerals, and glycine. Sourced from beef or chicken bones, it’s reported to boost gut health and fight against leaky gut.
  • How can you use bone broth for gut health? Bone broth may help to reduce inflammation, improve gut motility, and decrease abdominal discomfort. We recommend one cup a day warmed in a mug or added to soups and stews.
  • You can use either chicken or beef bone broth for nutritional benefits. However, beef is better known for its ability to recharge the gut, while chicken bone broth is often recommended for skin health.
  • Although bone broth may have remarkable benefits, it’s often not a one-shot solution for totally healing your gut. Feel free to use it as a supplemental therapy and a nutrient-dense snack any time of day or night.

Ah, bone broth. The health solution that does it all… supposedly.

Assuming you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard numerous claims about the benefits of bone broth. It’s supposed to be a superfood — a game changer for gut health, glowing skin, weight management, and hair and nail growth.

But is it, really?

Maybe you’ve dealt with uncomfortable gut symptoms for too long. The bloating, gas, and unpleasant bathroom trips are driving you to try any intervention, even bone broth. And the truth is, you’re a little skeptical…

Let’s explore the potential benefits of bone broth for the gut and the pros and cons of adding this nutrient-dense resource to your wellness routine.

Table of Contents:

Why Is Bone Broth Good for the Gut?

Whether you enjoy it in a homemade stew or in a warm mug each day, bone broth is rightly considered a superfood. Its savory goodness is filled with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are amazing for restoring the body.

Why is bone broth good for the gut? These three ingredients, primarily:

  • Collagen. Gelatin (the jelly-like substance that floats up when bone broth is cooled), is an easier-to-digest type of collagen. Found in ligaments and connective tissue, collagen is essential for human health — and when consumed from an animal-based product, it’s a bioavailable source of nutrients. 
    • Your body can use the gelatin found in bone broth to create or repair its own connective tissue (particularly those associated with the gut).
    • Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body — and it’s responsible for about 30% of your body’s protein content. It also plays a role in calming and soothing the gut lining — so food can pass through easier, with less bloating and discomfort. Since Western cultures primarily consume high-quality beef cuts (muscle meats), we typically miss out on the collagen protein and other nutrients found in beef tissue and bones.
  • Minerals. If you want to boost your cellular and gut health, healthy mineral consumption is a must. Bone broth contains abundant phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium — which can feed your gut, targeting the root problem of symptoms, while hydrating and strengthening your cells. Magnesium, specifically, helps with gut motility. You can infuse additional minerals into your bone broth by simmering it with mineral-rich veggies, such as kale, herbs, or other greens.
  • Glycine. An essential amino acid, glycine keeps your hormones functioning optimally — while adding to overall tissue, ligament, and muscle health (specifically the ones in control of your digestive system). High levels of glycine are typically found in bone broth and are needed for your body to produce the master antioxidant glutathione. Glycine is also a calming amino acid, helping to soothe anxiety and promote restful sleep.

Bone Broth for Leaky Gut

The gut lining of your small intestine is semi-permeable — which means it can filter microscopic nutrients out of your digestive system and into your bloodstream. However, the modern diet, trauma, chronic illness, and lifestyle factors can damage this sensitive gut lining — allowing larger food particles to pass into the bloodstream and create inflammation.

If you want to reverse leaky gut symptoms, the best course of action is to repair the gut lining. Conveniently, bone broth has a lot of nutrients that are directly focused on building and repairing that gut lining: collagen, glycine, glutamine, proline, and minerals.

While it shouldn’t be the only remedy you use for leaky gut, a daily cup of bone broth may help you reach your goals faster.

Bone Broth to Reduce Inflammation

In a recent study, amino acids were found to be the main nutritional component of bone broth. When administered to patients with ulcerative colitis, the bone broth was shown to decrease inflammatory markers significantly.

Since leaky gut allows food particles to enter the bloodstream, it can be a large cause of gut inflammation for some people. Bone broth contains a number of healing components that act like glue that seals and strengthens the intestinal wall. This is why it’s so commonly associated with inflammation reduction and gut health.

Bone Broth for Improved Digestion

For most people, bone broth is easy to digest since it is a warm liquid slow-cooked over a period of several hours. Gelatin is known to help increase the balance of stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

With a rich supply of healthy minerals, proteins, glycine, and other amino acids, it’s a great option for people who struggle with nausea or a sensitive stomach and can only eat so much without feeling ill. Over time, the nourishing components of bone broth can help your digestive system get back on track with improved motility and a stronger gut lining.

What’s the Best Bone Broth for Gut Health?

Homemade bone broth is the best source of natural bone broth. You know exactly what goes into your recipe, and there are no preservatives or additives. You can easily make bone broth in an instant pot with chicken or beef bones alongside veggie cuttings, herbs, and seasoning. Make a big batch seasoned to your liking — and then freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for easy access.

If homemade bone broth isn’t an option, purchase your bone broth from a local farmer’s market or from an organic grocery store. Grass-fed beef or chicken with no added hormones or preservatives is best.

Bone Broth Supplements

If you don’t like the taste of bone broth, you can consume it in capsule form. Choose a high-quality organic capsule with grass-fed beef or free-range chicken. If you need a more accessible option with a longer shelf life, try a bone broth protein powder. It can be added to a smoothie or a sports drink before a workout.

How Fast Does Bone Broth Heal the Gut?

Most people notice a difference in their digestion after just a few days of bone broth consumption (optimally, we recommend 1-2 cups per day — but you may need to start slow).

Although bone broth contains a myriad of nutrients and has studies to back its anti-inflammatory properties, it shouldn’t be your only solution to gut dysbiosis. Alongside bone broth, we recommend supplements to correct any nutritional deficiencies and working to investigate the root cause of your illness.

BodyBio Tip: We have lots of resources on gut conditions like silent reflux, gut permeability, the gut-brain connection, gut dysbiosis, and more. Empower yourself to be your own primary health provider and start investigating the source of your gut imbalance!

Should You Use Chicken or Beef Bone Broth for Gut Health?

Chicken and beef bone broth have different nutritional profiles — but don’t get too mixed up in the details. Both contain a healthy level of collagen, glycine, and minerals.

Beef bone broth is a little better known for its gut-healing benefits, while chicken is recommended for electrolytes and skin health. Many opt to mix the two together to soak up optimal nutrition benefits.

If that’s not an option, we recommend switching it up every few weeks. Try beef bone broth for a few weeks, then switch over to chicken. If you find that your gut responds better to one type of bone broth, consume that one primarily.

Other Important Benefits of Bone Broth

Think you’re just using bone broth to heal your gut? Think again.

Bone broth has many other benefits and is known to:

  • Improve acne and uneven skin
  • Minimize wrinkles
  • Improve hydration for the body and cells
  • Manage weight
  • Optimize the immune system
  • Build muscle
  • Improve hair and nail growth
  • Support healthy joints and ligaments

You’re your own best judge of the benefits of bone broth! Start drinking it daily and document your results.

We Believe in a Whole Body Approach to Healing the Gut

Most likely, bone broth isn’t exclusively going to heal your leaky gut. It’s not a magic potion. While it is dense in minerals and collagen, bone broth is just one resource you can use to mitigate symptoms and take control of your wellness.

Overhaul your diet, choose an exercise routine that works for you, reduce stress, keep up with your supplements, invest in your microbiome, and remove toxins from your environment. Although they aren’t always easy, these key habits can really make a difference in your symptoms.

Sure, have a warm cup of bone broth every morning and reap the nutritional benefits. But invest in other holistic health habits, too. (It’s never just one thing that makes a difference, is it?)

One of our favorite resources for gut health is BodyBio Butyrate, a customer-favorite that helps to rebuild the microbiome while repairing gut permeability.

Combine Your Bone Broth Routine with a Butyrate Supplement for Optimal Gut Restoration

References

Mar-Solís, L. M., Soto-Domínguez, A., Rodríguez-Tovar, L. E., Rodríguez-Rocha, H., García-García, A., Aguirre-Arzola, V. E., Zamora-Ávila, D. E., Garza-Arredondo, A. J., & Castillo-Velázquez, U. (2021). Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 57(11), 1138. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57111138

Ricard-Blum S. (2011). The collagen family. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology, 3(1), a004978. https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a004978

Chen, Q., Chen, O., Martins, I. M., Hou, H., Zhao, X., Blumberg, J. B., & Li, B. (2017). Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions. Food & function, 8(3), 1144–1151. https://doi.org/10.1039/c6fo01347c

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