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Bone Broth: A Secret Weapon for Arthritis?

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Bone broth is a slow-cooking cooking stock made by boiling the bones of animals. This cooking process releases a host of nutrients that studies show may be beneficial in stopping, and even reversing, arthritis symptoms. Read more about how bone broth can help below!

If you are suffering from arthritis, you may think there is nothing else you can do but take medication and take things easy. However, this may not be the case at all. In fact, new studies have shown that eating the right balance of nutrients can have a dramatically positive effect on arthritis. One particularly important nutrient may just be bone broth. Find out more about this curious connection below.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is a simple broth made by boiling the bones of animals in water for several hours (usually between 24 and 48 hours). In some cases, vegetables, herbs, or spices are also added to the broth to make it more flavorful. When the broth is boiled for long periods, the bones release the nutrients inside of them into the broth- making them usable by a person who drinks the broth. Bones contain a wide variety of nutrients, some of which include:

Nutrients in Bones

Studies on Bone Supplements and Arthritis

Several studies have indicated that the nutrients in bone broth can benefit patients with arthritis (particularly osteoarthritis, but some for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis as well). Several studies have indicated that taking collagen supplements can stimulate the growth of new cartilage in areas worn down by osteoarthritis.

The claim that collagen can stimulate the growth of new cartilage in joints comes from recent medical studies which say that patients with arthritic or damaged joints showed improvement in mobility and pain relief when taking the supplement.

A study on collagen from Kiel University in Germany found that adding collagen to cartilage tissue was able to encourage new cells to grow. In 2012, researchers from Case Western University examined 400 patients with arthritic knees, treating some with collagen. 93 percent of the patients taking collagen reported a significant reduction in pain and improvement in joint mobility in as little as two weeks.

A 2002 study conducted by Creighton University Medical Center found that collagen supplements were even effective in reducing pain and stiffness from RA. Studies on other nutrients contained in bone broth also show positive results for arthritis.

The National Institute of Health states that glucosamine sulfate is as effective in treating OA as over-the-counter pain killers. Additionally, the NIH states that glucosamine sulfate may also be able to slow the progression of OA.

The University of Colorado Hospital states that Chondroitin sulfate is an effective arthritis fighter. According to the hospital, the nutrient works by protecting bones from enzymes that break down cartilage. The sulfate may also prevent small blood clots that can slow blood supply to joints, which can cause pain and stiffness.

How can Bone Broth Help Arthritis?

Although no studies have looked at the role of bone broth specifically and how it relates to arthritis, many of the nutrients contained in bone broth also benefit bone health as a whole. The studies above show that ingredients like collagen, glucosamine sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate all have positive results for arthritis from both OA and RA. Additionally, bone broth contains nearly all of the essential nutrients to build strong, healthy bones from the inside out.

Other Benefits of Bone Broth

Eating or drinking bone broth on a regular basis may also help benefit the body in other ways as well.

Digestive Health

Bone broth contains many vital nutrients that can soothe the digestive system. This is one reason why soup is one of the few foods that many people can eat when they are ill, particularly after a stomach bug. Collagen is not only beneficial for the bones, but also for the digestive system. An old study from 1978 explored the relationship between collagen and digestive health, but the importance of collagen in digestive health has been ignored in recent decades. According to the 1978 study, rats and snakes that were fed greater quantities of collagen were healthier overall and had better digestion.

Reduces Inflammation

A few nutrients are linked to the reduction of inflammation in the body. Some of these, mainly chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, are contained in bone broth. A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Rheumatology found that a combination of chondroitin sulfate, omega 3 fatty acids, and glucosamine were highly effective at reducing joint pain and inflammation.

Supports the Immune System

According to Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World, studies on cartilage show that it can support the immune system in a variety of ways, by modifying the body’s biological response and activating NK cells. In traditional medicine, broth has been used for thousands of years to support ill individuals and is still used to this day as a soothing food during times of illness.

Strengthens Hair and Nails

Gelatin contained in bone broth is responsible for creating healthy hair and nails. Gelatin may also eliminate cellulite and may even be able to help prevent acne from forming.

How to Make the Healthiest Bone Broth

In general, a broth that is full of gelatin is a healthy, nutrient-rich broth. When broth is slow-cooked, more collagen and gelatin leech out, creating a healthy and delicious broth. A well-made broth will become jiggly when refrigerated. For the most beneficial broth, choose collagen-rich parts of the animal, like feet and joints. Don’t just use feet and joints, however, as regular bones contain tons of bone marrow which contain many of the other beneficial nutrients needed for fighting inflammation and preventing arthritis.

Try making broth from fish, poultry, beef, pork, and other animals to provide your body with a variety of nutrients. When cooking, bones that have been cooked once before will provide the most flavor and nutrients. This makes broth the perfect use for leftover dinner bones. Add a bit of vinegar to the water while the bones are cooking to remove even more nutrients from the bones. Adding in flavorful vegetables, like carrots, onions, and celery will also give more dimension and nutrients to the broth.

You can even use cut ends from vegetables, onion skins, and other parts of the vegetable that you would ordinarily throw away in the broth. The only added element that you should not put in right away is garlic. Wait to add garlic to the broth until about an hour before you remove it from the stove. Adding it any earlier will make the broth bitter.

When possible, choose animals that have been organically and sustainably raised. Pasture-raised animals fed their traditional diet (mainly grass) allowed to roam freely in a sunlit pasture will have a higher nutrient and flavor content than animals fed the feces of other animals for food in a cramped, indoor environment.

Cook the broth at a low simmer for 24 to 48 hours. Add in additional water if the broth starts to boil down too much.

Uses for Bone Broth

Aside from the obvious use of soup, you may be wondering how to use bone broth. After all, a person can only eat so much soup in a week. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to use bone broth. Try using bone broth to cook vegetables and rice rather than water. Use bone broth as the base for sauces and gravy. Freeze the broth in cubes and add it to dishes to add an extra burst of flavor. You can even add a bit of homemade bone broth to prepackaged soups in a pinch to give them a higher nutritional content.

Other Steps to Reduce Arthritis Pain

Bone broth is unique because it is one of the only foods that contain almost all of the nutrients that a person needs for healthy, strong bones and joints. This makes it a bone-building and arthritis-fighting superfood. However, if your arthritis is progressed to the point of daily pain, you may want to take more drastic actions to reverse your arthritis symptoms. You may find the following treatment options helpful:

Eliminate Inflaming Foods

Certain foods are known to trigger and promote inflammation in the body. These foods are what you would expect would be bad for you – over-processed junk food. However, you may be surprised at some of the “health” foods that are actually processed- such as vegetable oils. In fact, vegetable oils are some of the most inflaming foods on the market today. In general, avoiding vegetable oils, processed grains, sugar, and artificial sugar will reduce inflammation in your body.

Supplementing with Nutrients for Arthritis

As stated above, supplements of collagen, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine are beneficial in fighting arthritis. In addition to these supplements, a nutrient called SAM-e, and omega 3 fatty acids also show benefit in the fight against arthritis.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity promotes inflammation in the body and places extra stress on the joints, which can lead to an increased risk for developing OA. Maintaining a healthy weight places less stress on the joints and can help fight inflammation from the source.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise strengthens the joints and can help circulate blood in the joints, which can help prevent arthritis from forming. According to the American College of Rheumatology, exercise benefits both RA and OA patients by preventing bone loss and joint damage, decreasing pain and stiffness, and improves joint motion. Additionally, regular exercise can boost the metabolism and make weight loss occur at a faster rate.

Bone Broth: Good for Joints

According to studies, bone broth can be an effective remedy for preventing arthritis and even reversing it in some cases. However, unless you eat bone broth for every meal, it is unlikely that eating bone broth alone will completely reverse arthritis symptoms. For that, it is important to take arthritis supplements, exercise regularly, eat well, and maintain a healthy weight. When these steps are taken together, you drastically reduce your chances of worsening your arthritis symptoms.





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