Week 21 Tip: The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

By: Carla Meine CFNC

| May 18, 2022

Welcome back to More Than Healthy as we continue to share a Full Year of Resolutions. This week we are talking about Tip #21, the health benefits of bone broth. Bone broth is a liquid made from boiling animal bones and connective tissue. It’s incredibly nutritious and low calorie. 

I’ve been making bone broths for a long time. I use them mainly for my soup recipes, which we eat almost daily. It also works in other recipes as well, like this chicken with artichokes recipe or braised cabbage.  But David and I also enjoy having a warm cup of bone broth all on its own. David especially loves it, as he’s felt such positive health benefits from drinking it. In fact, homemade bone broth is one of the things he misses the most when we travel. 

Nine essential nutrients our bodies don’t produce

I first learned about the amazing benefits of bone broth in school while studying to become a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor. Then I read Terry Whal’s book, The Wahl’s Protocol, and I became completely convinced. Dr. Wahls put her MS into remission by following the principles of functional nutrition. She had been strictly plant-based in her diet when she discovered there were nine essential amino acids she was missing without animal proteins.The lack of those essential nutrients contributed to her MS. She reintroduced animal protein into her diet, starting with bone broth. (We talk about the health benefits of animal protein in Tip #17; read the blog post here and watch the video here for more information.) 

Bone broth and battling cancer

This really hit home for me. When David was fighting cancer, he went completely plant-based for 18 months. At first, he felt great. He had all kinds of energy. Now we know he was feeling good because he had removed all the sugar, processed foods, and dairy products from his diet, especially now that we know he is actually lactose intolerant!

A couple of months into this plant-based protocol, his energy started taking a dive. We didn’t realize it at first. We thought it was just a side effect of dealing with cancer. It wasn’t until later when he decided to reintroduce animal protein back into his diet that we realized what the problem was. His body needed that animal protein. It needed those nine essential amino acids we can only get through our diets! I started making bone broths for him, and that was when he really started feeling better.

The many health benefits of bone broth

As a Functional Nutrition Counselor, I highly recommend incorporating a good bone broth into your diet. It’s particularly important in Level 1 of our More Than Healthy Elimination Protocol to make a good bone broth and include it in the soups on the meal plan.. On days when you don’t eat a soup, just have a straight cup of it warmed up. 

Animal bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. They’re also full of other trace minerals that we need in order to build and strengthen our own bones. Marrow provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, and healthy minerals like zinc, iron, boron, manganese, and selenium. It’s also high in essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. 

All of these animal bones also contain collagen protein (more on this below), which turns into gelatin when cooked. This protein provides several important amino acids that our bodies can’t produce on its own.

The exact nutrient content varies depending on which ingredients you use. As the ingredients simmer, the nutrients are released into the water in a form your body can easily absorb. So many of us don’t get nearly enough of these good nutrients in our diets, so drinking bone broth is a great way to get more of them.

Let’s talk about five specific health benefits of bone broth:

Benefit #1: Bone broth helps your digestive system

Perhaps the most important way that bone broth helped David’s health was in helping to reduce inflammation along with healing his leaky gut. When your gut is damaged, bacteria and other toxins enter the bloodstream through gaps in the intestinal wall. This causes inflammation and can lead to many other health problems as well. (Read more about leaky gut syndrome here and here.)

There is an amino acid in bone broth called glutamine which has been shown to help heal the intestinal barrier. The gelatin from bone broth binds with water, and once in the digestive tract, it supports the healthy movement of food through your intestines. Because of this, bone broth can help people with leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s diseaseStudies show that people who struggle with inflammatory bowel disease have lower levels of amino acids in their systems. Drinking bone broth daily is an easy way to get anti-inflammatory amino acids into your body. It also helps with constipation.

Benefit #2: Bone broth helps support joint health

The connective tissue in the animal bones produces glucosamine and chondroitin in bone broth. These are natural compounds in cartilage that are known to support joint health. There is evidence that the gelatin in the bone breaks down into collagen in the body. That’s especially good for your joints and skin. 

It’s also good for people who already have osteoarthritis. The collagen produced by bone broth helps improve joint symptoms, including pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility.

Benefit #3: Bone broth can help improve your sleep

If you’ve followed us here at More Than Healthy at all, you know how much we value good sleep. Sleep is the foundation of our health. You can’t achieve optimal health without restorative sleep. Bone broth can help you sleep better because of a specific amino acid it contains: glycine. Research shows that glycine is a safe and therapeutic option in improving sleep. 

Studies found that 3 grams of glycine before bed significantly improved the quality of sleep for those who struggle to sleep. It helped study participants fall asleep faster, maintain a deeper sleep throughout the night, and wake up fewer times during the night. It also reduced daytime sleepiness and fatigue and improved mental function and memory. Drinking bone broth is an easy way to access this healthy, all-natural sleep aid. 

Benefit #4: Bone broth settles your stomach

Have you heard of the Keto Flu that some people get when they first go on a Keto diet? This temporary side effect comes from significantly reducing your carbohydrates in your body as it starts to detox, and you can experience flu-like symptoms. I can tell you from experience that all you have to do is drink a cup of bone broth a couple times a day, and your flu symptoms will go away. Whether it’s the Keto Flu or another illness, bone broth is good when you have an upset stomach. That soup grandma used to make that made you feel better truly was medicine.

Bone broth is easy to digest, so it can be calming on your stomach. It also helps in the digestion of other foods. The amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the colon and GI tract, reducing inflammation and digestive symptoms. Frequent bone broth consumption can help with irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.

Benefit #5: Bone broth has anti-aging properties

Okay, follow me here… Bone broth contributes to forming collagen which is the structural protein found in skin, cartilage and bone. When boiled, the collagen in the connective tissue is broken down into gelatine, glycine and glutamine like we mentioned above. In clinical trials, collagen was able to improve the hydration, elasticity and appearance of wrinkles in human skin. So along with sleep, joint health and leaky gut repair, all of which contribute to a younger, healthier you, studies say bone broth can also improve the look of your skin.

In addition, studies show that collagen increased bone mineral density in post-menopausal women. When combined with resistance strength training (see next week’s tip for more info on that), it improved lean muscle mass and helped with fat loss. Similar body composition improvements were found with elderly men as well. 

Homemade is always best

One of the fabulous things about making your own bone broth is that you can add so many great veggies, herbs, and spices. You can personalize it to what works best for you. I’m including the basics for a good bone broth in my recipe below. We also have lots of soup recipes on our website to give you ideas about how to use the bone broth. From there you can figure out what you and your family like best.  

If I have ample time, I make my bone broth in a crockpot over a 24-hour period. When I’m more crunched for time I use my instant pot to make it. You can always just put a pot on the stove and boil those bones for hours and get the same result.

If you don’t have time to make a bone broth, you can buy a bone broth that is gluten-free and made with organic beef or chicken in a carton from the grocery store. But truly, nothing compares to a healthy, delicious, homemade bone broth! You’ll learn it’s very easy to make and really nutritious. 

Bones for bone broth

The most frequent question I’m asked about bone broth is where do I get my bones. I’m fortunate that the same friend that supplies me with grass-fed and finished beef also provides me with my year’s supply of bones. Most people can find a local butcher that has a lot of bones. Even if you can’t get grass-fed and finished bones, you can use chicken and beef bones to make amazing bone broth.  Plus, you can use them twice! After I’m done with the first use of the bones, I freeze them and use them again. You can still get the amazing health benefits of bone broth in a second boil.

My recipe for bone broth:


4-5 lbs of bones and cartilage (you can use grass-fed beef bones or pasteurized chicken bones)

4 stalks celery (cut in 1-inch pieces)

1 large onion (cut in quarters)

8 cloves of garlic (I like a lot of garlic in mine)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 bay leaves

1/4 fresh rosemary, thyme, or other seasonings of your choice.


Add all ingredients to an Instant Pot, a slow cooker, or a soup pot.

Slow cooker is my favorite method. I put it on at night and let it slow cook for 10-12 hours (I’ve gone as long as 20 hours), and it’s ready in the morning. If you put it in an Instant Pot, then set it on pressure cook for 90 minutes. On the stove top, cook it on medium-low for 8 hours.

When done, pour broth through a strainer to remove bones & veggies (I’ve found I can put the bones in the refrigerator and use them for another broth later in the week). Then you’ll want to pour it through a mesh strainer to get anything else out of the broth.

Use immediately or put in quart jars in the refrigerator for a week. You can also freeze for up to a couple of months.

Have you experienced the health benefits of bone broth?

Do you have a favorite recipe for bone broth? We’d love to give yours a try and let you know what we think. We always love to hear from you. We read all your comments and respond to any questions. We’ll also discuss this topic more on our free monthly coaching call. These happen the first Tuesday of the month at 6:00 pm MST. If you have questions about anything we’ve discussed, or any other questions about your health, we’d love to have you join us.

If you’d like to join the monthly call, just text COACHING to 1-647-558-9895 to get on our email list. You can also watch our social media pages for the link. Thanks so much for joining us, and we’ll see you next week!