Bone Broth is all the rage these days. They say, “It is high in minerals, amino acids, and is good for our gut!” Our society tends to highlight individual foods as cure-alls and we often get the message that everyone needs to be gluten free, go keto, or drink bone broth. It can be confusing to navigate the plentiful information from doctor Google.
As a functional medicine nutritionist, there is a lot I want to share with you about the big picture of bone broth and gut health. Not all that we have heard is inaccurate, but there are some fine details that could benefit those who are on the verge of quitting, those who have been struggling with autoimmune conditions for years, or those who feel like they have been eating as well as they could but are still not getting the results. Let us dive into the difference between bone broth and meat stock.
Bone broth is a protein packed liquid that can be drank alone but is usually used as a base for soups, cassaroles, and other dishes. Bone broth is typically made by simmering bones and other vegetables for 24-48 hours. This long period of cooking breaks down the minerals and nutrients from the bones and flavors the broth. Because of this longer cooking, bone broth contains a superior amount of amino acids and has higher concentrations of minerals than meat stock.
However, the excessive amounts of certain amino acids such as glutamic acid have been known to more easily pass through a leaky gut and further pass through the blood brain barrier. Glutamic acid is a free glutamate and closely resembles MSG and glutamine. Russell Blaylock, M.D. and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride recommend for those especially with Autism or other neurological degeneration to avoid free glutamates because of their excitatory effects on a leaky brain.
Meat stock is a similarly protein packed liquid that can also be drank alone and used in recipes. However, meat stock is made with meat on bone including the connective tissues and cooked for a shorter period of time, 1 ½ to 4 hours depending on the type of animal protein used. Meat stock is well known to have more gelatin and specific collagen proteins such as proline and glycine which go directly to strengthening and healing our own connective tissues such as our intestinal walls. These nutrients are pulled out of the bones and connective tissues during the first several hours of cooking.
One of the star components of meat stocks is gelatin. Gelatin is especially vital in optimizing the digestion of proteins and utilization of collagen in the body. It also helps improve the digestibility of plant based proteins such as grains and legumes. For this reason, it is recommended to cook these foods in meat stock or bone broth. However, grains and legumes are avoided during the beginning stages of an AutoImmune Paleo diet or a GAPS nutritional protocol because of poor digestion, sensitivities, and inflammation. Meat stocks are highly preferred to be used in the beginning stages of leaky gut in the form of soups and as a drink. Low levels of gelatin and high amounts of free glutamates are why it is not recommended to use bone broth in cases of ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, other neurological disorders as well as Crohn’s or Leaky Gut Syndrome. Because meat stock is used in the early stages of gut healing, some digestive reactions called detox symptoms can occur. These include diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, nausea, skin eruptions, or rashes but can easily be managed or minimized by altering the amount of meat stock intake, epsom salt baths, saunas, castor oil packs, or enemas.
Bone broth is best recommended for individuals who do not have leaky gut or are further along the gut healing journey. Each individual is different, and some may find that when they introduce bone broth, their symptoms return. This just means that there is more need for meat stocks to be used and gut healing is not completed. Once the digestive system is repaired and the liver is working efficiently, then bone broth can easily replace meat stock interchangeably.
Poultry Meat Stock
Beef or Lamb Stock
Chicken Bone Broth
Makes about 10 cups
Put the onions, carrot and the chicken with giblets into a
crockpot. Fill with water till almost covering the chicken.
Cook on low heat for 12 hrs (overnight).
Remove the whole chicken from the pot and de-bone the
meat from the bones. Cut up the chicken in to bite-size
pieces and refrigerate or freeze for another use. Strain the
broth and discard the vegetables and herbs from the pot.
Store broth in glass jars and let cool. Refrigerate or freeze
for later use.
With leftover bones from chicken, you can put these back
into the now empty crockpot and fill with water to cover the
bones. Add 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar, onion, and carrot
and cook on low for another 12 hrs for another batch of
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