Bone broth has really taken over as an all-natural ‘miracle elixir’ boasting a never-ending list of health benefits. Although it has been around for centuries, bone broth has only recently become increasingly well known in the health and wellness community. People all over the world are becoming more and more interested in how to live a healthier lifestyle by fueling their bodies with nutrient dense food such as bone broth. Bone broth is packed full of healthy amino acids and nutrients that our bodies need to thrive and while there is quite a bit of hype surrounding it, you may have also heard the term ‘collagen’ as they go hand in hand. Since bone broth actually has collagen in it, many people make the mistake of thinking that taking a collagen supplement is the same thing as drinking bone broth. It can get a little confusing, so we are here to break it all down and explain exactly what bone broth collagen is, what the benefits and risks are, and how to use it!

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is made up of mainly amino acids and happens to be the most abundant protein found in our bodies. The amino acids are a combination of glycine, proline, arginine and hydroxyproline. This specific combination is what makes collagen so special. Essentially, collagen is the basis of everything in your body giving structure to your organs, eyes, nails, hair, bones and gut just to name a few. Collagen also helps our muscles to grow, tightens and plumps our skin, keeps our hair shiny and bodies flexible. As we get older, the production of collagen in our bodies start to fall which can contribute to many things such as dry skin and aches from joint pain, but don’t let this slow you down as there are ways to supplement collagen to make up for what your body loses as you age!

How is Collagen Made?

Collagen is resorbable meaning it can be broken down, converted and absorbed back into the body. It is made by breaking down the hides, skin and scales of animals or fish using water and heat. The animal hides are washed and soaked in an acid solution to loosen the collagen bonds. Then, they are boiled down to extract the collagen which is later evaporated, concentrated, desiccated in drum driers and then pulverized resulting in the powder form of collagen. This collagen powder is frequently known as collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen which are essentially the same thing – a powdered form of collagen that has been extracted from an animal’s hide or skin. Many people that supplement using collagen will take it as is in a powdered form that they pour in a smoothie or in a capsule. Another way to supplement it is by drinking the whole-food form of collagen, commonly known as bone broth.

What is Bone Broth Collagen?

Bone broth has been around dating back to the pre-historic times of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and is known to be one of the world’s richest sources of collagen. Collagen is the protein that comes from the bones, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and bone marrow from an animal. Bone broth is made by simmering these parts of an animal into an easy to digest liquid. Typically, the animals used are cattle, chicken, pork or fish. Chicken bone broth, pork bone broth, and all types of bone broth contain collagen, amino acids, minerals and other amazing nutrients our bodies need to flourish making it a great addition to anyone’s diet!

How to Make Bone Broth

To make bone broth, you will want to make sure that you start by using top quality ingredients. Try using the bones from an animal that was grass fed or farm raised to make sure you are maximizing your bone broth by getting nutrients from healthy animals only. Bone broth has so many great nutrients, but not all bones are created equal. Stick to top quality to ensure you are filling your body with the best nourishing nutrients available.

  1. Blanch – First, take the bones and toss them into a large pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and let it simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Then, drain the bones and rinse them with water.
  2. Roast – After blanching your bones, you will want to roast them to add an extra layer of flavor to your broth! Crank the oven up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and evenly spread your blanched bones onto a roasting pan. Put them in the oven for roughly 45 minutes. 
  3. Secret ingredient – After 45 minutes in the oven, take your roasted bones and throw them into a large pot adding enough cold water until the bones are fully submerged. Next, you will want to add the secret ingredient known as acid! Adding acid to the water will help the bones to release the nutrients into your broth making it very crucial to include. Feel free to use any type of acid that you like, but most commonly used is apple cider vinegar or lemon.
  4. Boil – After adding in acid, place your pot on high heat, bringing your water to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, bring the heat back down and let it simmer for up to 24 hours. 
  5. Strain – Grab a fine mesh strainer to strain your bone broth and discard the solids. Set it aside to cool and enjoy!

So far, we have learned that there are two different ways to supplement collagen. We can either take collagen peptides which are simply collagen in a powdered form, or we can consume bone broth which is packed full of collagen along with other body nourishing nutrients. Although both are great, studies have shown that many times, the body does not recognize or process manufactured nutrients the same way it does nutrients derived from whole food sources! We are not saying supplements are bad by any means, but the benefits of consuming an oh-so-good cup of warm bone broth might be greater than popping a collagen capsule. 

Bone Broth Collagen Benefits

Collagen is naturally found in bone broth, giving it a long list of health benefits! For example, it’s known to boost immune systems. Additionally, it’s also paleo-friendly, gluten free and dairy-free.  It is also highly nutritious as it is rich in vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Some of the benefits are:

  • Digestive and gut health – bone broth is rich in collagen which contains amino acids such as glutamine that supports a healthy inflammatory response. Glutamine has also been known to prevent and heal “leaky gut” making bone broth an ideal solution to anyone suffering from stomach woes. 
  • Weight loss – bone broth is very low in calories but can still satisfy your hunger because gelatin has specifically been shown to promote feelings of fullness. Bone broth also contains many amino acids that have been known to boost metabolism making it a great tool to get in shape!
  • Joint pain – the collagen found in bone broth contains proline and glycine, which your body uses to build its own connective tissue. Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are compounds found in cartilage shown to decrease joint pain. 
  • Cognitive function – many people will refer to the stomach as the second brain of the human body. When our gut is not feeling well, usually our whole body does not feel well either. Bone broth collagen can help you to have a healthy gut, which will then support the neurotransmission in your body, improving your mood. 

What are the Risks of Bone Broth Collagen?

Like with any supplement, there are some risks associated with consuming bone broth. Animal bones are known to store heavy metals, particularly lead. When making bone broth, the lead from the bones may be released. Lead can affect any organ in the human body, but most cases show lead affecting the nervous system, kidneys and bones. When consuming bone broth collagen, make sure you know exactly where the bones came from. Do a little bit of research and try to use organic, pasture-raised sources to ensure you are using the highest quality bones possible.

How Do You Use Bone Broth Collagen?

Bone broth collagen is extremely beneficial to your body as it has an endless list of health benefits granting it the nickname, “Elixir of Life’.  There are many ways that you can enjoy bone broth with the most popular way being to just sip on it! Whether it’s beef bone broth, chicken bone broth, or both, bone broth is a warm mouthwatering treat that can soothe any soul. Simply heat the broth, pour it into a mug and sip! Some other great ways to use bone broth collagen is by adding it to any stew, soup, gravy or sauce that you make giving the flavor a little more depth. You can also splash some of your bone broth into a frying pan when you are sautéing veggies! Not only will your vegetables taste amazingly savory and delicious, but they will also absorb all the nutrients from the broth making it a tasty and nutritious side to your meal.