A wooden spoon holding some jellified bone broth with the words "bone broth collagen"

Bone Broth Collagen: Unveiling Its Hidden Health Advantages

Bone broth is great for many health reasons; for instance, it’s crammed full of minerals and nutrients. But what makes it stand out from other things we put into our bellies, is collagen.

Such things as collagen supplements and powders are great, but when delivered to our digestive system in their natural form along with all the other goodness mentioned above…

…well, now we’re talking – your body will absorb all of that goodness with thanks.

You see, Mother Nature has an uncanny knack for packaging up nutrients that work together in harmony.

For example, one of the most notable synergies in bone broth is between collagen and the amino acids glycine and proline. While collagen provides the basic structure for skin and joint tissues, glycine and proline, abundant in bone broth, are critical for the formation and repair of collagen fibers themselves.

This means that when you consume bone broth, you’re not only getting collagen but also the specific building blocks required for your body to effectively synthesize and utilize this collagen.

This synergistic relationship enhances the body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy skin, joints, and connective tissues, far exceeding the benefits of collagen alone.

How amazing is that? In a a world where people spend crazy amounts of money on botox and other age defying treatments, it turns out bone broth and its collagen is the original anti-aging skin care product… and at a fraction of the cost.

So let’s dig deeper into why bone broth collagen is superior over other types of collagen.

What is Bone Broth?

Before we delve into the world of collagen in bone broth, let’s first understand its foundational element: bone broth itself.

Bone broth is what nose to tail or whole animal philosophy is all about. Using the whole beast including the animal bones is a mark of respect to the life that once lived… providing nutrients for another to thrive onwards.

It’s made by simply boiling bones, knuckles, tendons, skin, and connective tissue in water for hours or even days. You can add such things as apple cider vinegar – which is said to help extract the goodness – some veggies such as carrots, garlic, onions, or whatever… there are no rules here.

And, what you get is the superfood (or drink) that is bone broth – packed full of minerals, amino acids and gelatin – all crucial for maintaining strong bones, healthy joints and youthful skin.

This nourishing liquid has been the secret weapon of chefs and cooks for centuries, offering more than just flavor to our meals.

Regularly consuming bone broth can reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and promote gut health. It’s not just a warming drink; it’s liquid gold for your overall well-being.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is like a superhero inside our bodies, doing all sorts of important jobs to keep us healthy and strong. It’s special because it helps hold everything together, from our skin to our bones.

The Different Types of Collagen and Their Sources

There are several types of collagen, each with a unique role. For instance, Type I collagen, found in marine sources, is known for skin health, while Type II collagen, typically sourced from beef and chicken bones and cartilage, supports joint health.

Taking a collagen supplement, whether as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides, provides a convenient way to boost your collagen intake, but for those who prefer natural sources, bone broth stands out as an excellent choice.

The Magic of Amino Acids

Bone broth is a rich source of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins that play critical roles in our body. Let’s delve into the key amino acids found in bone broth and their importance:

  1. Glycine: Abundantly found in bone broth, glycine supports the body’s detoxification processes and promotes healthy digestion. It’s also vital for the synthesis of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, and for maintaining healthy skin and connective tissues.
  2. Proline: Essential for the production of collagen, proline helps maintain and repair skin, bones, and joints. This amino acid is particularly beneficial for supporting the body’s healing processes and combating the effects of aging on the skin.
  3. Glutamine: Known for its gut-healing properties, glutamine is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal lining. It’s a key nutrient for preventing and addressing leaky gut syndrome, where it helps repair and regenerate gut cells.
  4. Arginine: This amino acid is involved in various body functions, including immune response and wound healing. Arginine also helps the body produce nitric oxide, which is essential for blood flow and heart health.

Health Benefits of Collagen

A flexible girl doing a handstand on a rock with dramatic cloudy sky backdrop

Collagen, an essential protein found abundantly in the human body, offers a variety of health benefits:

  1. Skin Health: Collagen is vital for maintaining skin elasticity and hydration. It helps in reducing wrinkles and dryness, contributing to a youthful and healthy appearance. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to improve skin elasticity and may help slow the aging process of the skin.
  2. Joint Health: Collagen helps maintain the integrity of cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. As you age, the amount of collagen in your body decreases, leading to joint issues. Supplementing with collagen may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain. Bone broth as opposed to collagen supplements contains glucosamine, known to improve joint heath.
  3. Bone Health: Collagen gives bones structure and strength. The reduction in collagen as you age can lead to weaker bones and conditions like osteoporosis. Bone broth may help increase bone mineral density and reduce factors that lead to bone breakdown.
  4. Muscle Mass: Collagen is a significant component of muscle tissue, and it’s crucial for keeping muscles strong and functioning correctly. Supplementing with bone broth may help increase muscle mass, especially in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging.
  5. Heart Health: Collagen is essential for giving strength to your arteries, which are the channels for blood to travel from the heart to other parts of your body. If there’s a collagen deficiency, your arteries might become delicate and lose their strength. Consuming bone broth could potentially lower the chances of developing heart-related issues.
  6. Gut Health: Some health practitioners believe that collagen may help in the treatment of intestinal permeability, or leaky gut syndrome. While more research is needed, collagen’s amino acids are thought to help build the tissues that line the gastrointestinal tract.
  7. Hair and Nails: Collagen plays a key role in enhancing the robustness of your nails, helping to avoid breakage, and can also encourage the growth of both your hair and nails, making them longer and healthier.
  8. Brain Health: Some people report improved mood and a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression with collagen supplementation, although more research is needed in this area.
  9. Inflammation: Bone broth can help fight inflammation thanks to its rich content of anti-inflammatory amino acids like glycine and proline, as well as gelatin and collagen which support gut health. Minerals like calcium and magnesium in bone broth also contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The Link Between Collagen and Gelatin

Think of collagen as a strong net in your body. It’s like a net that holds everything in place – your skin, bones, and muscles. This net is tough and flexible, keeping you together.

When this net, or collagen from an animal, is cooked – like in bone broth – it transforms into gelatin. Gelatin is what makes the wobbly jelly you eat. Cooking unwinds the collagen net and turns it into gelatin, which is easier to digest and known for improving gut health.

So, when you consume natural sources of collagen, you’re actually getting a transformed version called gelatin which contains the raw ingredients the body uses to make the collagen it needs.

The Advantages of Obtaining Collagen from Bone Broth

Now we know bone broth doesn’t contain collagen – just gelatin containing the ingredients for our body to produce it – so, why not just take a collagen supplement and be done with it?

Well, bone broth is a minimally processed product – especially when homemade – and in contrast, collagen supplements undergo extensive processing to extract and hydrolyze the collagen.

Let’s face it, bone broth is the natural way of obtaining collagen, which means it comes with a variety of other nutrients. These include minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and trace elements, along with amino acids that can enhance overall health beyond just the benefits of collagen.

Let’s use some common sense here… what do you think your body would prefer and respond better to; the unnatural processed form of collagen supplements, or gelatin along with other synergistic nutrients to allow effective and optimal natural collagen production?

There is a load of studies that prove the health benefits of collagen supplements, so just imagine what consuming it in its natural form complemented with all the other nutrients bone broth offers will do.

Is There A Risk of Toxic Metals in Bone Broth?

In recent discussions around bone broths, concerns have been raised about the presence of toxic metals, leading to some misplaced fears. It’s crucial to address these concerns with a balanced view and scientific understanding.

While it’s true that bones can accumulate heavy metals like lead and cadmium, studies such as Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths have shown that the levels found in bone broths are typically very low and generally considered safe for consumption. These trace amounts often fall well below the safety thresholds set by health authorities.

Moreover, the benefits of consuming bone broth, rich in minerals, collagen, and amino acids, far outweigh the minimal risk of heavy metal exposure.

It’s important, however, to source your bones from reputable suppliers, preferably from organically raised and grass-fed animals, as their bones are likely to have lower levels of contaminants.

How to Make Your Own Bone Broth

Bone broth being strained into a glass bowl next to a glass bowl of cooked bones

Creating your own bone broth collagen at home is not just a cooking activity; it’s a rewarding process that connects you to the roots of traditional nourishment. Plus it’s very cheap.

Selecting and Sourcing the Best Ingredients for Maximum Collagen

The choice of bones is crucial in making a rich, collagen-packed broth. Opt for a mix of marrow bones, joints, connective tissue, and knuckles, especially from 100% grass-fed beef or free-range chickens.

These parts are rich in collagen, essential for yielding a potent broth. Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar helps in extracting these nutrients effectively.

Pop down to your local butchers and ask for some bones. Due to lack of demand, they likely be cheap other than for our K9 companions.

Failing that, plenty of online meat companies will supply high-quality bones, tendons, and knuckles. The company I like that do a fantastic range is White Oak Pastures.

Step-by-Step Process of Making Bone Broth Collagen

The process is simple yet profound.

  1. Start by roasting the bones to deepen the flavor.
  2. Then, simmer them in water for 12-48 hours, allowing the collagen and other nutrients to leach into the broth. The longer you cook, the more goodness you get out.
  3. Strain the liquid, let it cool, and your homemade bone broth collagen is ready to serve!

Top tip: if you have a pressure cooker, you can reduce the cook time down by a 2/3. So, 12 hours becomes 4 hours, 24 = 8, and 48 = 16.

While the bones are the stars, the supporting ingredients can elevate your broth. Add vegetables like carrots, onions, garlic, and celery, and herbs like parsley and thyme for extra flavor and nutrients. These additions not only enhance taste but also increase the nutritional value of your broth.

Choosing Pre-Made Animal Bone Broths: Convenience Meets Tradition

In our busy lives, making bone broth from scratch can be time-consuming, even though its benefits are immense. Recognizing this, the market now offers a practical solution: pre-made animal bone broths.

These ready-to-use broths are a blessing for those who can’t spare hours simmering bones on the stove.

Opting for pre-made broths may be more expensive, but can be a time-saving and effective way to incorporate the benefits of bone broth into your daily routine, especially for those leading a fast-paced lifestyle.

Always check the labels for ingredients and sourcing to ensure you’re choosing a product that aligns with your health goals and dietary preferences.

Here are some options for buying high-quality pre-made bone broth online:

Integrating Bone Broth Collagen into Your Diet

Incorporating bone broth collagen into your daily routine can be both delicious and effortless. Let’s explore some creative ways to make this nutrient powerhouse a regular part of your diet.

Bone broth collagen can be enjoyed in various forms. Drinking bone broth is the easiest option; sip it warm as a comforting drink.

Perhaps use it as a base for soups and stews; reduced down it can add some serious flavor to your meal. Its versatility allows you to get creative with your culinary endeavors.

My favorite is using a cup in my liver and bacon. Fry some streaky bacon, add a cup of beef bone broth, and reduce. When the consistency starts to thicken, add some chopped-up ox liver… lovely stuff!

You can swap out the beef broth and ox liver with chicken broth and chicken livers… equally yummy!

Should You Ditch The Collagen Supplements?

There’s far too much evidence such as this, this and this to support the health benefits of collagen supplements to simply ditch them. Plus, they’re convenient and easy to add to your diet.

If there’s any reason you can’t or don’t want to consume bone broth then I’d suggest you should absolutely take collagen supplements. There are plenty of high-quality options out there to choose from, for example:

I have both bone broth as a drink and in my food, and powdered collagen peptides in my hot drinks.

Conclusion

The thing is; yes, bone broth and its collagen are good for many health-boosting reasons. But, historically, we would’ve regularly been consuming bone broth, and not necessarily due to the health benefits, but because it’s just the way it was.

In our modern world of fast-food and convenience stores, many of our food traditions have been lost, or at least diminished along with our health.

My point is that they only ‘boost’ our health because our health is poor in today’s world. For optimal (normal) health, things like bone broth, organ meats & offal, and natural animal fats such as tallow, lard & even schmaltz, must be consumed.

And, that’s what I hope to bring you with my blog posts… a route back to normal and optimal health. Because once you get there, you’ll never know you could feel so good both physically and mentally.

So, now you know about bone broth collagen and how the gelatin you consume from it is complemented with all the other nutrients it contains.

That said, if collagen supplements is the only option for you, or you want to supplement your bone broth, then crack on – there’s plenty of research to prove its health benefits.

That’s it… have a nutritious day!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does Bone Broth Really Build Collagen?

Yes, bone broth is a natural source of collagen, which is essential for maintaining the health of skin, joints, and bones. Regular consumption helps in replenishing the body’s natural collagen, thus supporting overall health and wellness.

Which Bone Broth is Highest in Collagen?

Bone broths made from beef or chicken, particularly those involving joints, knuckles, and marrow bones, are typically highest in collagen. The collagen content is further enhanced by prolonged simmering.

How Often Should I Drink Bone Broth for Collagen?

Incorporating bone broth into your daily diet is ideal for maximizing its benefits. A cup a day can significantly contribute to your collagen intake and overall health.

Can Bone Broth Collagen Aid in Weight Loss?

Bone broth collagen can be a part of a weight loss diet due to its high protein content and ability to promote satiety. However, it should be complemented with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for effective weight management.

Is Bone Broth Collagen Suitable for Vegetarians?

As bone broth is derived from animal bones, it is not suitable for vegetarians. Plant-based eaters can look for alternative sources of nutrients found in bone broth, like amino acids and minerals, from various plant-based foods.

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