by marco dydo
Hey there … my Individual, Gentle Snowflakes!
Okay, there has been a lot of talk about Bone Broth as of late. Many outrageous claims have been made and I have been asked to “chime in”.
So, lets start with the lyrics from a popular spiritual song from the early 1900’s that was inspired by the writings contained in a VERY popular book, about the prophet Ezekiel (37:1-14) … “Ezekiel connected dem dry bones, the Neck bone connected to the head bone … Now hear the word of the Lord”.
Nowhere does it continue with … “then, they made soup”!
It has been written, in yet another popular book, that if you want to heal your soul then Chicken Soup is good for that! Of course, that’s if you don’t have friends and loved ones in your life who can give your soul “a good talking to”!
Bone Broth seems like the miracle we’ve all been waiting for! From weight loss to liver detoxification to smoothing wrinkles! But is it? As for this Broth, although there is a lot of what I like to call “Marketing Science” by so-called experts that extol the absolute virtue of Bone Broth … the actual science really doesn’t back it up. So, for those of you who aren’t interested in reading any of the “science” that follows, the “take home message” of “it’s just bad science” … which can be found in a yet un-published book … Bone Broth for Bone Heads! … IS the conclusion.
Now, for those of you who want a bit more, do you remember when your Grandmother gave you Chicken Soup when you were sick, as it was THE remedy for the common cold? Well, the active ingredients were more than likely the vegetables, water and much needed sleep that actually cured that cold … but Grandma got the thanks because she showed up and made soup! Thanks Grandma!
Today, Bone Broth seems to be the new Soup de Jour on the cure-all menu. Believers tout an expanded range of health benefits, including healing a leaky gut, promoting healthy joints, enhancing immune system function and improving the overall appearance of skin and all thanks to it’s Collagen content. There are also a whole host of papers promoting Bone Broth as a Cure for Cancer … (Shame on them). Regrettably, this fashionable medicinal eating “craze” is leading a lot of would-be healthy eaters into … the Valley of Dry Bones! “Now hear the word of the lord’.
Contrary to popular beliefs, there are no miracle foods, or miracle drugs for that matter! No matter how badly people want it; there is no magic pill … or soup, it’s much more complicated than just soup! Although boiling bones does yield a Collagen protein made up of various amino acids that Geriatriclly decreases in the human body, we don't absorb Collagen “whole”! So the idea that “eating Collagen” will promote bone growth is just not how the body works. It’s like people who think that eating blood “feeds your blood” … it’s simply just wrong!
Suggesting that, “by boiling down animal and fish bones, skin, cartilage, tendons and ligaments” creates a gelatin-rich liquid that provides the amino acids necessary to make Collagen, or "the glue that holds the body together" and provides the Collagen needed to build the underlying structure for a bone is grossly overblown. Additionally, when compared to other proteins, Collagen is also a poor source of some very important amino acids such as Lysine, Threonine, Leucine and Tryptophan.
The Amino Acids, in any food, are broken down from ingested proteins and converted into their constituent Amino Acid components. Therefore, Collagen is metabolized into Amino Acid building blocks that will be used by the body, for any number of biochemical processes that currently necessitate them. These particular Collagen Amino Acids are not specifically re-incorporated back into Collagen within the body specifically because they originally came from Collagen in another creature to start with. It’s a common misconception that if you ingest Collagen from the Creature from the Black Lagoon then your Knee Collagen will be that of the Creature of the Black Lagoon! Oh sure, it makes for a funny 1950’s Sci-Fi feature entitled “I’ve got the Knees of the Creature of the Black Lagoon” however, please pardon the redundancy but, “this is just not how the body works”.
The real truth about Collagen and maintaining vigorous, natural formation (not injections) is to start with intelligent food choices that also lower your odds of developing a whole host of other diseases. Several examples of nutrients needed for promoting Collagen production include the healthy, natural sources of Vitamin C found in citrus fruits, berries, peppers and dark leafy greens. Another group of phytonutrients to consider are the Anthocyanins found in blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and dark skinned plums.
And third, but certainly not least, is the Manganese that is found in such items like pecans and peanuts, whole grains and legumes like dried beans. Also worth a brief mention here is minimizing physical Collagen damage. Regularly practice low impact exercise. Avoid inflammatory compounds like processed foods and meats, trans fats and refined sugar. Eliminating environmental stressors like cigarette smoke, areas with very high air pollution and using sun protection regularly can also protect your Collagen status.
So, the final word on Collagen is eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, dark fruits and berries is ideal for promoting Collagen health. Plants offer much richer sources of the requisite Collagen building blocks and, in addition, provide much more of the nutrients involved for overall good health that, incidentally, are not found in sufficient quantities in meats or Bone Broths.
Moving on to some of the other claims that Bone Broth may provide a “super charged” quantity of vitamins and enzymes is just more wishful thinking or, more likely, Profitable Marketing Claims. The vast majority of the phytonutrient profile, enzymes and vitamins get denatured from the high heat and extended exposure to heat as the Bone Broth cooks, rendering them ineffectual and fruitless to the body. There are some minerals in Bone Broth but once again these are in much greater concentrations in fruits and vegetables.
However, there are several claims about Bone Broth that do seem to have a little more “science” behind them. An interesting study published in 2000 concludes that Bone Broth, made from chicken bones, bolsters the immune system and that chicken soup may contain a number of substances that demonstrate beneficial medicinal activity. The researchers observed that by eating chicken soup there seemed to be “mild reduction” in inflammation response that helped reduce symptoms of a specific upper respiratory tract infection.
This Incessantly quoted “chicken soup study” is flawed in its design and didn’t account for the well-documented positive effect on inflammation response initiated by vegetables. This is just another example of bad science + smarmy marketing = duping the trusting, hopeful, unsuspecting masses (double shame on them)!
Now, in the making of Bone Broth, different bones are going to yield different broths with different nutrient profiles and different manufacturing techniques/procedures. So expecting some consistency with contents and profiles is more wishful thinking. It appears that Bone Broth comes directly from the land of hopes and dreams made with the tears of fairies by the Keebler elves (apparently, they are diversifying)!
Along with the Collagen claims, it is also being promoted that Bone Broth is high in Glucosamine and should be used for osteoarthritis. The actual evidence shows that Glucosamine has only a minor effect on a number of arthritic conditions that require a gallon of Bone Broth to achieve the amount required for any positive clinical observed result.
Another claim is in regard to the elusive “leaky gut” disease, which seems to be the “en vogue” term currently being abused by a whole host of holistic healthcare practitioners. Now that doesn't mean that this condition doesn’t exist. Mainstream healthcare, both allopathic and homeopathic, acknowledges this condition as being directly and indirectly associated with several diseases. However, there is absolutely no empirical evidence that the internet-wide Bone Broth “cure” has any therapeutic effect. Intestinal Permeability appears to be mediated, at least in part, by the protein Zonulin. Okay sure, drinking gelatin won’t harm you but it’s not going to secure leaky intestines because Zonulin isn’t affected by gelatin.
But all of this isn’t really going to hurt anyone physically. It will just put undue strain on your dwindling finances as an “alternative hoax” allows yet another “fox into the hen house” … to make up some delicious Hen Broth! People are resilient and they will soon get over being deceived and ready once again for more shellacking by the unscrupulous snake-oil charlatans … right?
No … not right. This must stop!
Let’s have a quick look at what’s inside the anatomy of the Medullary Cavity and the Trabecula of Cancellous bone … okay, that’s basically the “type of bone” and location that has Bone Marrow in it. Right … all Bone is not created equal!
So, lets talk about Marrow. Bone marrow is a very flexible tissue type inside the interior cavities of certain bones. The cores of bone marrow is where the hematopoietic, or blood producing cells are located. This part of the marrow produces about 500 billion cells per day. There are two types of bone marrow namely "Red Marrow" which consists mainly of the hematopoietic tissue, and "Yellow Marrow" which, is mainly made up of marrow adipose tissue containing fat cells.
And it’s this Yellow Marrow, in particular, that is of interest in regard to Bone Broth. The longer you heat the marrow the more of these two tissue types are extracted and deposited into the soup. Now, the amount of toxins that the average animal is exposed to (even grass fed ones … especially grass fed ones really!) is staggering and ever expanding. Guess where the body stores toxins and heavy metal that it can’t metabolize ??? Give up? Well, if you guessed that “Fat-Cell / Adipose Tissue” then you guessed correctly!
Now, let’s sum this up … shall we! If the fat cells are loaded with “toxic stuff” that the body couldn’t metabolize and you make soup from that tissue then, “what are you really serving for dinner”?
Bone Broth is just another fad diet that is currently being cashed in upon. Not wanting to argue with those that claim, “They feel better because of Bone Broth” I say, “Fine” however, when the interest from those who are currently cashing in diminishes to a point of financial insolvency, another “holistic DIY remedy” will be foisted upon the unsuspecting hopeful in the hopes of draining the wallets and emptying the pockets of the already finagled shorn … and at least you’ll have left-over soup!
“Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones … This has been the word of the lord” … !!!
Don’t forget to breathe.