Broth has always been perceived as a source of mineral and health benefits. Unfortunately, the amount of research on this topic is low. When I was going to write this article, I drew mainly from cookbooks, especially from cookbook entitled Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook, a challenge for politically correct nutrition and diet dictators from Sally Fallon, M.G. Enig, PhD., and from Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen (by McGruther’s).

Broths and stocks are a cornerstone of the GAPS protocol. But they are also a basic meal in traditional cuisine, not only for their taste, nutrient content, but also for their therapeutic effects, which are also confirmed by research. It helps in the treatment of colds through mild anti-inflammatory effects and increased nasal mucus production [1, 2, 3].

In some Asian cultures, broths prepared from chicken or other bones soaked in water with vinegar before cooking (to increase the calcium and iron content released from them) are  traditionally recommended pregnant and breastfeeding women  [4, 5, 6].

A good broth will raise the dead. (South American proverb)

It is important to use bones, soft meat tissues such as cartilage, and bone marrows to prepare a strong stock. Bones release calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur into the broth; cartilage and tendon release building materials such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which are commonly sold as dietary supplements for the treatment of arthritis or joint pain relief [3].

Bone marrow, is a mass inside large beef bones that consists of two types of marrow: red and yellow. Red bone marrow produces new immune cells and red blood cells, while yellow is composed of fat. However, both types of marrow contain collagen [7].

It is generally known, that bone broth is a great source of nutrients in an easily digestible form, which can help in their supplementation if somebody is deficient. In cookbooks using traditional cooking methods, it is commonly recommended to leave the bones soaked in apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp) for 1 to 2 hours before boiling (or to add the vinegar with the start of boiling). Actually, the acidic environment has a significant effect on the releasing of some minerals from the bones, especially calcium and magnesium [3]. Due to the calcium content, the broth is recommended for people suffering from lactose intolerance (milk sugar intolerance).

Furthermore, it has been shown that longer boiling time of beef broth (> 8 hours) significantly contributes to higher amounts of extracted iron, zinc and magnesium [3].

There are claims that the broth is also rich in the amino acids glycine and glutamine (and many others). Although these are non-essential amino acids (it means that the body is able to make them, therefore we do not need to take them in food) we should still take care of them. What about glycine? Although it is synthesized in the body from various substances (choline, serine, hydroxyproline and threonine), is shown that its synthesize is inadequate under normal conditions, not only in humans but also in animals. Glycine presence is important in several places in the human body – it is a precursor of the creatine, the antioxidant system of glutathione, a part of the blood pigment heme, collagen, purines and porphyrins. It plays an important role in the regulation of blood sugar – it directly affects the endocrine pancreas (thereby increasing insulin secretion) and the brain (thereby reducing the production of glucose in the liver) via glycine receptors. In addition to diabetes mellitus, it is also very important in the prevention and treatment of other diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, and even enhances sleep quality [9].

Glutamine is considered to be a ‘conditionally essential’ amino acid – it means it is essential only in certain conditions, such as illness, stress or adolescence. L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the blood and is a unique nutrient that provides energy for its metabolism in the small intestine mucosa, regulates intestinal cell proliferation, repairs and maintains intestinal barrier functions [10].

When the broth cools, it solidifies due to the presence of gelatin [11]. By boiling animal bones, cartilage and other connective tissue, collagen breaks down and transforms into a colorless substance called gelatin. The chemical composition of gelatin is very similar to its parent molecule [12].

Gelatin, although not a complete protein, is very useful to us. There are clinical studies suggesting that it can reduce pain and improve joint mobility in patients with osteoarthritis [13]. American scientist Francis Pottenger has identified gelatin as a hydrophilic colloid that binds water and attracts digestive juices, making it easier to digest in the intestine. Gelatin is known as an anti-inflammatory agent and has been used successfully in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, and colitis, particularly its prolyl-hydroxyproline and glycine metabolites [8].

Many factors can influence the nutrient content in the broth, such as the used animal part (bones or meat), animal species (using of fish head for preparation of broth to enrich it with iodine which is necessary for thyroid hormone production), added vegetables, vinegar and others [7].

“Fish broth cures anything.” (South American proverb)

Recently, it has been discussed a broth as an important source of heavy metals. It is generally known that bones store heavy metals, especially lead, mercury and cadmium. However, recent studies have not confirmed that the role of broth in heavy metal exposition is significant [3].

“Soup is a healthy, light and nourishing meal, good for all; it delight the stomach, stimulate appetite and prepare digestion. “Brillant-Savarin


[1] SAKETKHOO, Kiumars, Adolph JANUSZKIEWICZ a Marvin A. SACKNER. Effects of Drinking Hot Water, Cold Water, and Chicken Soup on Nasal Mucus Velocity and Nasal Airflow Resistance. Chest [online]. 1978, 74(4), 408-410 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1016/S0012-3692(15)37387-6. ISSN 00123692.

[2] RENNARD, Barbara O., Ronald F. ERTL, Gail L. GOSSMAN, Richard A. ROBBINS a Stephen I. RENNARD. Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro. Chest [online]. 2000, 118(4), 1150-1157 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1378/chest.118.4.1150. ISSN 00123692.

[3] HSU, Der-jen, Chia-wei LEE, Wei-choung TSAI a Yeh-chung CHIEN. Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food & Nutrition Research [online]. 2017, 61(1) [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1347478. ISSN 1654-6628.

[4] ROSEN, H. N., H. SALEMME, A. J. ZEIND, A. C. MOSES, A. SHAPIRO a S. L. GREENSPAN. Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking. Calcified Tissue International [online]. 1994, 54(6), 486-488 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1007/BF00334329. ISSN 0171-967X.

[5] ROSEN, H. N., H. SALEMME, A. J. ZEIND, A. C. MOSES, A. SHAPIRO a S. L. GREENSPAN. Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking. Calcified Tissue International [online]. 1994, 54(6), 486-488 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1007/BF00334329. ISSN 0171-967X.

[6] Calcium Source in Indochinese Immigrants. New England Journal of Medicine [online]. 1982, 306(4), 239-240 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM198201283060416. ISSN 0028-4793.

[7] FALLON, Sally, Pat CONNOLLY a Mary G. ENIG. Nourishing traditions: the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: NewTrends Pub., c1999. ISBN 0967089735.

[8] KRESSER, Chriss. The Bountiful Benefits of Bone Broth: A Comprehensive Guide. [online]. 2019, 2019 [cit. 2020-02-09]. Dostupné z:

[9] RAZAK, Meerza Abdul, Pathan Shajahan BEGUM, Buddolla VISWANATH a Senthilkumar RAJAGOPAL. Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity [online]. 2017, 2017, 1-8 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1155/2017/1716701. ISSN 1942-0900.

[10] YOUNG, Vernon R. a Alfred M. AJAMI. Glutamine: The Emperor or His Clothes? The Journal of Nutrition [online]. 2001, 131(9), 2449S-2459S [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1093/jn/131.9.2449S.

[11] MCGRUTHER, Jennifer. Broth & stock from the Nourished kitchen: wholesome master recipes for bone, vegetable, and seafood broths and meals to make with them. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, [2016]. ISBN 978-1-60774-931-8.

[12] EASTOE, J. E. The amino acid composition of mammalian collagen and gelatin. Biochemical Journal [online]. 1955, 61(4), 589-600 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1042/bj0610589. ISSN 0306-3283.

[13] MOSKOWITZ, Roland W. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism [online]. 2000, 30(2), 87-99 [cit. 2020-02-09]. DOI: 10.1053/sarh.2000.9622.



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