I help ambitious women struggling with chronic gut health imbalances overcome their symptoms.

Battle of the Broths: Bone vs Veggie

April 15, 2020

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So your doctor told you to start adding bone broth into your “gut healing journey”? I hate to say it, but I’m not surprised.

Here’s the thing.

Bone broth is a craze that I was sold on back in university when I was in the deep end of trying to handle my IBS symptoms. And again, it was something that my fellow classmates at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (where I studied to become a RHN) tried to sell me on and and get me recommend to clients when I was already 4 years into my plant based lifestyle.

The media tries to sell it to you.
Paleo advocates try to sell it to you.
Famous healthcare practitioners like Chris Kresser try to sell it to you.
And your mom probably tries to feed it you.

But who has even studied the validity behind the argument that bone broth is the answer to all your gut health problems or your awful IBS symptoms? Who’s even verified that these claims are true and not just another marketing scheme built on the foundation the same foundation that the meat and dairy industries use to thrive?

I surely didn’t believe it in my gut, but I also couldn’t just refute it without digging into the science.

And dig I did.

And dig I did. Here’s the down low and dirty on bone broth and why you might want to challenge your doctor when they try to recommend it to you next.

The idea here is that because bone broth comes from bones, it provides us with the nutrients, such as calcium and collagen, that we need to build strong bones, joints and connective tissue (including in the gut). 

Collagen is important for skin, hair, and connective tissue, and it’s a protein that our body makes from amino acids, just like any other protein. In reality though, bone broth is actually a poor source of amino acids, meaning it likely won’t help to promote collagen within the body and I’m not aware of any research stating otherwise. If you really want more of the collagen building blocks and overall nutrition, eat your greens! ⁣

Now on to the risks.

Lead poisoning is a major health concern, which is why the World Health Organization (WHO) puts in place limits on the “acceptable” amount of lead we can have in our water. Unfortunately, research has shown that even levels 20x below what’s “acceptable” can lead to health issues such as gout. This implies that there is really no safe limit (this is emphasized by the Environmental Protection Agency who place the safe level at zero). Heavy metals are also detrimental to the gut and can contribute to inflammation, and conditions such as candida overgrowth.

How does this relate to bone broth? Lead is stored in bones, and all studies conducted on bone broth have found lead. Even research on organic chicken bone broth found that levels may exceed “safety” guidelines.

So instead of consuming a heavy metals that negatively impact every system in your body, including your gut, it may be worth opting for a vegetable broth instead and adding extra greens to the mix. Vegetable broths are incredibly high in nourishing nutrients that will help balance out your body, repair your gut, and get you back on track to being symptom free.

References:

1. McCance, RA. Bone and Vegetable Broth. Archives of Disease in Childhood. ⁣
⁣2. Check, L. The fate and behavior of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals: examining lead as a PBT metal. Rev Environ Health. 2013.⁣
⁣3. Krishnan, E. Low-Level Lead Exposure and the Prevalence of Gout. Annals of Internal Med. 2012.⁣
⁣4. Monro, JA. The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. Medical Hypotheses. 2013.⁣
5. Hsu, D. Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food & Nutrition Research. 2017.

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