If you are trying to heal a leaky gut then you have probably heard that bone broth will help. Made by simmering bones (usually chicken, lamb, beef or fish) in water. With optional additions of vegetables, herbs, seasonings and sometimes vinegar. The bones are simmered for a day or more. Chicken bones simmered for twenty four hours will crumble between finger and thumb. Bone broth made this way is a delicious, nutritious and healing food. So, why do some people not tolerate bone broth?
Bone broth contains several amino acids that can help to strengthen or build the proteins in the body. If you add bone broth to your diet the first thing you might notice is better skin, hair and nails. It helps to plump up the skin, provide elasticity and reduce wrinkles. It also helps to heal injuries, wounds, burns and ulcers. It prevents muscle wasting and heals a damaged gut lining. And, if you make your bone broth from bones with joints. The cartilage, tendons and other connective tissue provide a rich source of nutrients. They help to build and repair healthy joints in your body.
Bone broth mainly contains the non-essential amino acids, proline, glycine, glutamine and alanine. Non-essential meaning they are not an essential part of the diet as the body can make them if required.
Some believe that the glutamine content of bone broth may be harmful. This is because glutamine can be converted into glutamate. And it is true that the synthetic product monosodium glutamate (MSG) can cause problems in the body. It is stimulating to the brain. And is associated with migraine headaches, ADHD and autism.
Unfortunately MSG or similar food additives, such as yeast extract, are found in most processed or packaged foods. These man made additives are concentrated sources of glutamates. And they can cause side effects in some people.
For this reason I would recommend that everyone should avoid processed foods wherever possible. This is especially true if you suffer from migraine headaches, neurological or digestive problems.
Bone broth can also cause problems for some people. One theory is that this occurs when the brain has an excess of free glutamates from eating a poor diet. Adding even the small amount of glutamate from bone broth adds to the excess of glutamate in the brain creating overstimulation.
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet was developed for children with autism. It starts with an introduction diet. In this initial part of the GAPS diet, meat stock is recommended rather than bone broth. While still containing the healing amino acids of bone broth. Its concentration of glutamate is much lower. Meat stock contains around a third of the amino acids of bone broth.
Meat stock, like bone broth, is prepared with bones and meat. But it is only cooked for a short time. Cooking time for meat stock is less than two hours. But for bone broth cooking time is between 1 to 3 days.
On the GAPS diet there is a slow transition from using the meat stock to using bone broth. As the gut heals the bone broth is tolerated without problems.
Another possible issue with bone broth is histamine intolerance. Some foods, including bone broth contain histamine. For most people histamine in foods does not cause a problem. But some people can react to histamine with an itchy skin rash, hives, stomach upset, migraine headache or a runny nose.
So, while most people will thrive on bone broth, there will be some people that don’t. If you experience any side effects whilst consuming bone broth then it is a good idea to see your doctor or other healthcare provider.