Bone Broth: Nutritional Facts & Benefits

by lydia on May 23, 2012

It’s time we reclaim broth making from the past, our ancestors instinctively knew the benefits. The All New Joy of Cooking describes broth as, ‘inherently calming, consoling, and restorative to our spirit and vigor.’ A pot of broth simmering away on the stove is like therapy and medicine for the soul, along with that it makes a home feel assuredly comforting and inviting. Enjoying a bowl of soup is always a comfort to my soul along with my palate. A sense of true deep down nourishment always comes over me personally with every sip of broth. Because bone broth is easy to absorb, tastes good, and contains a rich concentration of nutrients, broth makes a distinctively good natural ‘medicine.’ In folk wisdom, chicken soup is known as ‘Jewish penicillin’.

Fish broth will cure anything. ~ South American Proverb

Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. . . without it nothing can be done. ~ Auguste Escoffier

Good broth resurrects the dead. ~ South American Proverb

On the GAPS dietary protocol, one that is meant for individuals to ‘heal & seal’ the gut lining, bone broth is at the center of the plan. It plays a critical role in soothing the gut and allowing the body to absorb critical nutrition in the most assimilable way. Loaded with minerals, one of our nation’s epidemic health issues, bone broth is a great way to replenish the bodies likely depleted mineral reserves. Let’s look at more ways that bone can truly nourish and benefit the body.


Nutritional Facts & Benefits of Bone Broth

  • Bone broth contains gelatin a colloidal substance that attracts digestive juices to itself and prevents gastrointestinal bugs from attaching themselves to the gut wall and wreaking havoc. The gelatin in bone broth assists digestion.
  • Bone broth contains minerals such as calcium, silicon, sulphur, magnesium, phosphorous & trace minerals in an easily assimilable form. These minerals are pulled out of the bones in part due to using a vinegar solution prior to cooking. The vinegar helps to draw the mineral salts out of the bone.  All of the minerals present in bones used for bone broth, except fluoride, are macro-minerals, which are essential for proper nutrition and are required in greater amounts than 100mg/day. The only macro-mineral not present in bone is chlorine. Minerals have numerous functions in the body beyond the composition of bone, which is why the body will rob the bones and tissues to maintain steady levels of minerals in the blood and other fluids. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in bone, it is also the most abundant mineral in the body. The calcium present in bone broth can be considered for use in the following deficiency signs, symptoms and conditions: pain and inflammation, cramps, muscle spasms, delusions, depression, insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, anxiety, palpitations, hypertension, high cholesterol, allergies, brittle nails, periodontal and dental disease, pica, rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis and any situation that creates bone loss such as aging, immobilization, postmenopause, and caffeine,
  • Bone broth is helpful in treating digestive disorders such as IBS, colitis and even Chrohn’s disease.
  • Anemia and other blood disorders respond to gelatin in the diet as well. Gelatin is used to tonify the blood. Glycine, a key ingredient in gelatin, plays a vital role in the blood. (Table II) Also if gelatin is extracted from bone, then marrow, where blood cells are produced is also extracted. Chinese studies have shown gelatin to increase red blood cell and hemoglobin count, increase serum calcium level, increase the absorption and utilization of calcium, and prevent and treat myotonia atrophica (muscle wasting)
  • Gelatin assists in neutralizing whatever intestinal poison is causing problems during an intestinal bug or flu.
  • Broth recipes stress the quality that can be obtained from using highly cartilaginous parts of animals. These parts will be joint areas, like chicken feet and beef knuckles, trachea and ribs, or anatomy with a concentration of glycosaminoglycans, like hooves and skin.
  • Cartilage (aka- broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), cancer, decreased immune system states, and malnutrition.
  • Another word for collagen is gelatin. Collagen is a scientific term for a particular protein in the body, while gelatin is a food term referring to extracted collagen.
  • Gelatin has also been found to improve body weight as well as bone mineral density in states of protein undernutrition.
  • Gelatin (broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: food allergies, dairy maldigestion, colic, bean maldigestion, meat maldigestion, grain maldigestion, hypochlorhydria, hyperacidity (gastroesophageal reflux, gastritis, ulcer, hiatal hernia) inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, malnutrition, weight loss, muscle wasting, cancer, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency and anemia.
  • Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. It results in symptoms such as bleeding gums, bruising, and poor wound healing. These manifestations are actually due to a deficiency of collagen, because vitamin C is needed to synthesize collagen. It converts proline into hydroxy proline. Collagen, along with minerals are needed for the creation and healing of bone. It is also integral to cartilage formation and repair.
  • Collagen (broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: poor wound healing, soft tissue injury (including surgery), cartilage and bone injury (including dental degeneration).
  • Broth could be considered a liver tonic (or liver supportive). Broth helps the body to detoxify during a cleanse, and in fact at any time it is eaten.
  • Broth also contains, Chondroitin Sulfate, a jellylike substance, now famous as a supplement for joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. It functions to support and provide adhesiveness. It lines blood vessels and plays a role in lowering atherosclerosis, cholesterol and heart attacks.
  • Broth is not a complete protein, since it only contains three amino acids. A complete protein needs to contain all B essential amino acids. Therefore it is not a meat replacement, but it can be used as a meat extender. Since glycine is used to make other amino acids, it is considered protein sparing. In addition, because glycine is used to make energy in gluconeogenesis, consuming glycine spares your own body protein from being broken down to make energy. Broth is not a meal replacement, which is why it is used as a starting point for soup, or as the first course of a meal.
  • Broth can be thought of as a protein supplement, and a calcium supplement. The chemical ingredients extracted from broth are glycine and proline (collagen/gelatin), calcium and phosphorus (minerals), hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate (GAGs), and other minerals, amino acids and GAGs in smaller amounts.

For a more in depth read on the benefits of bone broth, read this article; ‘Why Broth Is Beautiful’, by Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN.

Onion Soup & Roasted Bone Marrow


(Sources; ‘Gut & Psychology Syndrome’ by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride; ‘Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health Disease‘;)

Are you new to making homemade broths and stocks? If you want to learn from the best on all the ins and outs of homemade broth making, plus obtain numerous recipes and uses for broth -check out my friend Patty of Loving Our Guts eBook; ‘Broth Elixir of Life‘. Gorgeous photos and step by step instructions, plus information on all the healing benefits of broth and why you should make it a staple part of your healthy kitchens.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate May 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm

This is the best blog ever! I’m thinking about bone broth all the time, round the clock. Then POOF there you are. Writing about it. My freezer is soooo full I just threw away 3 quarts of amazing bone broth. Waaaah! What should my system be if I can’t freeze massive amounts? Cook it up and serve it before every meal? Do you go to butcher or I saw some at local supermarket in frozen section.


lydia May 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Kate – I used to make large batches and freeze it all and would run out of room sometimes, now I just always have bones on hand and am always making stock. I use a continuous brew method sometimes and that means I can just pull from my crockpot anytime I need some. I always have a quart or two in the fridge as well. I get bones from the farmer’s markets. Save all your bones every time you have meat with bones, you will always have a collection gathering that way. I just used up a medley of pork, beef and lamb and threw them in the pot together – it was quite good!


Charlotte September 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I like to freeze broth in icecube trays and pop the cubes into sauteed veggies, etc.


becki pyatt October 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

how do i make this stuff?? just boil bones of anything? chicken, turkey, fish, beef??? anything else added????


Bob November 15, 2012 at 1:50 am

Becki, use the google. Search \”bone broth\” or \”bone broth recipe\”. I use a modified chicken stock recipe personally.


Bob November 15, 2012 at 1:52 am

…without the backslashes. This website has a bug in handling double-quotes.


birdy January 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I made beef bone broth for the first time. It is completely gelatinous after putting it in the refrigerator, which I assume is a good thing? I refrigerated it first so that I could remove the hardened fat, but now my question is whether it is fine put the gelatin in the freezer or if I need to heat it back to a liquid first and then freeze.


lydia January 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

You can freeze it just like that!


Priscilla April 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm

These great nutrients can passed on to our little ones. Try Bone Broth lukewarm in a bottle (9 months or older) or a sippy cup with a dash of sea salt. Train the taste buds early on to receive nutrition like this.


Sarah November 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Hi, I apologize but I didn’t read the whole post because I’m looking for one specific fact: How much calcium does bone broth contain as compared to milk? I don’t eat dairy and I’m concerned about my calcium intake, so I’ve been thinking about making bone broth. Thanks! :)


lydia November 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I have not found any sources that would tell me how much calcium exactly would be in bone broth, however I do know it is a good source of calcium and most all other minerals. If you do not eat dairy, bone broth would be a good bet -but calcium works in tandem with other minerals, good fats, adequate hydration, vitamin D status and more. It’s a game of co-factors, not just a matter of consuming one nutrient! Bone broth is an excellent way to get in assimilable minerals!


Sarah November 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Thanks for the info! :)


Chelle December 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

My bone broth is not turning gelatinous. Am I not cooking it long enough? The first time, I left the crockpot on for 8 hours; the second time, I left it on for 24 hours. The only other ingredient is tumeric. My goal is to use it to remineralize my teeth. Also, I am skimming off the hardened fat on top after refrigeration. Thanks!


lydia December 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm


What kind of bone broth? What amount/mixture of bones are you using?


jo January 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

Hi. Jw what is the vinegar mixture used to draw minerals from bones before cooking them. also am I supposed to refridgerate and remove the fat


lydia January 2, 2014 at 10:45 am


Remove the fat if it has cooked for too long -the fat can oxidize if cooked at high enough heat for too long. Otherwise you can keep the fat with the broth, chill it and remove the hardened fat from your broth and use in cooking. I do keep my extra fat in the freezer, and a small bowl by my stove for no more than several days to use in my cooking. You can also leave the fat with the broth if you like…..


Summer February 8, 2014 at 7:59 am

What happens if I dont skim off the fat and eat it as it is!? Does that have a high calorie content and im gonna gain weight?? :(((


lydia February 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm


You can eat the fat if you like. I skim it off if the surface starts to brown, usually only on beef stock if it’s gone too long or gotten too hot because it can go rancid. Fat can actually help you to lose weight. Though if you are not used to eating healthy fats and start out with too much it’s possible you could retain some weight due to an inability to digest it. Usually though adding good fats to the diet helps one to start to lose weight, it’s also very satiating!


Janice Doerksen February 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Hi, this is great site! I agree with the benefits of broths and as a nutritionist I recommend broths to everyone. I make a mean bone broth, with love of course and have started to sell it at my store where I work. Had my first demo last week. Thank you for this site, I will refer others to you.


Katri April 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hi I heard bone beef broth can cause you to have insomnia? I have made some and every time I take it that night I have severe insomnia? What gives? Please reply thanks katri


Debbie April 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm

I have severe insomnia from Bone Broth, even if I only have one table spoon full in the morning that night I will not sleep, I wish someone could explain because I have full batch in the freezer all organic, just a note coconut milk, oil will do the same thing cause insomnia, even the slightest amount.


Bobby May 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I am trying to rejuvenate my knees and avoid surgery. I’m taking goodly amounts of turmeric and have recently started with the bone broth. The first time I tried the broth, I thought I was going to get sick. I finally realized that my body was not used to receiving that kind of nourishment and such quick absorption. The old body has adjusted to it and my knees are beginning not to ache. What a great blog this is. I do have one question: Would including turmeric in the broth be any more beneficial?


dana June 15, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Hi Bobby

I always add turmeric to my bone broth. Everytime I make a whole roasted chicken, I take the bones and let simmer with onion and garlic for 5-6 hours. After, I strain it, and add spices I ike : sage, pepper, sea salt, fresh thyme and turmeric. I have read many times that you need black pepper to ensure turmeric absorption…but I could be wrong. I add sometimes sprouted lentils, sprouted millet or quinoa or once I just put hemp seads and I was surprised how delicious it was :) . I also use organic chicken. I believe that’s very important!

Reply June 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

“You can freeze it just like that!… ” agree.


Peter Ritchie January 9, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Cooking Time / Breaking Down Key Elements??????I have seen many articles on bone broth and I am considering starting to use these. I am concerned about an issue. I see cook times of 6-8 hours. Seems long even for a slow cooker. Wont this long duration heat break up/destroy these amino acids, vitamins. etc?


lydia January 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Hi Peter

It does break down vitamins (in the veggies) and amino acids. It also releases more amino acids and minerals from the bones.The point of adding veggies is for flavor, not significantly improved nutrition (most often anymore I don’t even add veggies to my bone stock). Long cook times both break down some of the amino acids but also release more from the bones into the liquid. Hope that makes some sense – bone broth is namely for the minerals and collagens – and is very soothing to the entire GI tract.


Inez Perez January 13, 2015 at 12:17 am

Hi, I just found out about bone broth. I know that broth is usually used for cooking. But with bone broth do you use it for both, cooking & drinking? I want to start making it because I was diagnosed with RA. I suffer with inflammation & pain. I’m always looking for a natural way of pain relieve. Sounds like it will also help cleanse my liver as well due to the RA medication intake. Please respond, Thanks


lydia January 21, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Hi Inez,

Yes, I use it both in cooking and sometimes I just drink a mug of it. May I suggest you start with a shorter cook time and test out a small amount first – some people have reactions to broth when they first start out with it.


Lisa February 2, 2015 at 11:42 am

If I have high cohlesterol and have been prescribed medication to lower it, should I skim the fat from broths? I read conflicting views and am not sure what to do.


lydia February 10, 2015 at 6:37 am


Consuming good fat has nothing to do with high cholesterol. That said, I don’t know the reason for your high cholesterol – in case you are not digesting fats well at this time it’s best to skim it off.


Susan September 5, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Hi, love this blog…I started doing this because I was taking Collagen Supplements at a hefty price…Found out they were made from chicken collagen and glycine….So, I made my second batch of broth this weekend…Cooked the organic chicken bones to the point they disintegrated…Mashed up the bones and let it simmer just a tad more. First time I have cooked the bones to powder. Ok,,,putting it in the fridge NOT in plastic but in a Pyrex bowl,,,I then SHOULD or SHOULD NOT skim off the cooled gelatin? This part confuses me,,,isn’t this the most nutritious part of the broth? AND if I could sneak another question in….(grin) can you can your broth just like any other canning food? THANK YOU SO MUCH! I’m a novice that wants to learn!


lydia September 8, 2015 at 8:02 am

The only time I skim at all is during the beginning of cooking on the stove top once it starts to simmer and gets foamy scum. I’m not sure what you mean by skim off the cooled gelatin? Canning is doable but you have to make sure there is not fat in the broth before you can it.


Susan September 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Sorry,,,,when I put any cooked meat juices in the fridge….there is always a fat like substance that comes to the top and is usually hard or firm after being cooled……Is this something that is good for us or should it be discarded?

Being heart healthy is important to me…genetic reasons dispose me and I have cardiac stents. I am careful not to add “bad”fat to my diet…I know there is multiple “good” fats for us…

So,,,is this a good fat, healthy congealed substance, or something that should be discarded before eating?

Jello has this same consistency…:) and its supposed to be good for us…so I am confused….



Caleigh Miller November 16, 2015 at 10:16 am


I have gastritis and Crohn’s disease and I want to try the GAPS diet to see if it helps the pain go away and heal my stomach and intestines. I’ve been drinking bone broth I bought but for the past two days for about 9 hours a day I’ve been boiling and simmering a whole, organic, grass-fed chicken with some ginger, fennel, and caraway to make my own bone broth. I don’t know if it’s coming out right. It’s a cloud yellowish white with pieces of meat floating in it. How do I know when to stop cooking it? When can I start eating it? Am I supposed to remove the meat? How do I know it has lots of nutrients in it and how can I ensure it has the most nutrients in it?

Thank you,
Caleigh Miller


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