Bone Broth: The Benefits and the Risks (2024)

Bone broth is exactly what it sounds like — a broth or stock made by simmering animal bones.

You simmer the bones for around 12–48 hours, so making it takes much longer than making other stocks and broths. For reference, vegetable and meat stocks simmer for about 4–6 hours and broths under 2 hours.

There are claims that bone broth can improve different aspects of your health. But there isn’t much research supporting these claims.

While bone broth can be a convenient way to add many different nutrients and other compounds to your diet, it isn’t clear how much of each nutrient the broth actually contains.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits and risks of bone broth and whether it's worth including in your diet.

With ZOE’s personalized nutrition program, you can learn how to eat for your body and your long-term health goals.

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How it’s made

You can make bone broth with a mix of leftover bones, either after a roast or from a butcher. Recipes vary, so it’s a good idea to look for one that suits your taste.

First, rinse the bones. If you haven’t roasted them already, do this next to add extra flavor, richness, and color to your broth.

Add the bones to a large pot or slow cooker, along with water, vinegar, and any recommended herbs and spices. Let it simmer for 12–48 hours. Late in this stage, you can add vegetables if you want.

After the simmering period, leave the broth to cool, then strain it into a storage container, discarding the bones and anything you added.

Nutrition info

You can make bone broth with many different bones and other ingredients, and this determines the nutrition content.

As an example, 1 cup (253 g) of bone broth can contain about:

energy: 41 calories

protein: 9.4 g

total fat: 0.3 g

carbohydrates: 0.6 g

fiber: 0 g

sugar: 0.5 g

sodium: 486 milligrams, 20% daily value (DV)

calcium: 9 mg, 1% DV

potassium: 24 mg, 1% DV

Suggested health benefits

There are claims that bone broth can help with weight loss, gut health, and joint health — but there’s little evidence to support this.

While eating collagen may increase the collagen levels in your body, research has found that most bone broths don’t contain enough collagen to have any benefits.

Apart from protein, bone broth only contains small amounts of nutrients.

To make sure you’re meeting all your nutrition requirements, it's important to build a diverse diet rather than adding any specific food.

A balanced and nutrient-rich diet contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes.

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Possible risks

There are some concerns about whether bone broth contains toxic metals, particularly lead.

In one study, researchers examined the lead content of bone broth made from chicken bones. They found that the broth contained over ten times more lead than the water alone.

However, in a later study, scientists stated that the lead content in bone broth is low. They did note that the nutritional content depends on the source of the bones and the method of preparation.

Unfortunately, the research into the toxic metal content of bone broth hasn’t arrived at clear findings. And because recipes vary, it’s difficult to know the nutrition content of your particular version.

Also, most bone broths are high in sodium, which can be bad for your heart if you have too much. One serving of broth can provide about 20% of your daily sodium requirement, depending on the recipe.

Is bone broth worth including in your diet?

Bone broth and stock are common bases for many recipes, such as soups, stews, casseroles, and gravies.

While bone broth can be a flavorful ingredient, it won’t make a big difference to your overall nutritional intake.

You don’t need to stop having bone broth, but it's important to make sure you’re getting what you need in the rest of your diet.

A good way to improve your nutrient intake is to eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, oils, nuts, and seeds.


Bone broth can be a good way to use up leftover animal bones.

This type of broth typically contains protein, but low amounts of other vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, depending on your recipe and its ingredients.

Also, some bone broths may contain lead, a potentially toxic metal, but the research so far isn’t conclusive.

At ZOE, we know that all bodies respond to foods differently, so there's no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition.

The ZOE at-home test kit analyzes your blood fat and blood sugar responses, as well as the “good” and “bad” bugs living in your gut.

Based on your unique results, the ZOE personalized nutrition program provides recipes and advice so you can learn how to eat for your body.

Take our free quiz to get started.


Anti-aging effects of the Hanwoo leg bone, foot and tail infusions (HLI, HFI, and HTI) on skin fibroblast. Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources. (2016).

Bone broth. (n.d.).

Bone broth unlikely to provide reliable concentrations of collagen precursors compared with supplemental sources of collagen used in collagen research. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. (2019).

Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food & Nutrition Research. (2017).

How to make bone broth. (n.d.).

The impact of excessive salt intake on human health. Nephrology. (2022).

The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. Medical Hypotheses. (2013).

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  • Bone Broth: The Benefits and the Risks (3)
Bone Broth: The Benefits and the Risks (2024)


Bone Broth: The Benefits and the Risks? ›

This type of broth typically contains protein, but low amounts of other vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, depending on your recipe and its ingredients. Also, some bone broths may contain lead, a potentially toxic metal, but the research so far isn't conclusive.

Are there any negative effects of drinking bone broth? ›

According to some studies, bone broth may be high in glutamate. Glutamate may cause adverse effects such as anxiety, restlessness, low energy, mental exhaustion, sleeplessness, and concentration problems, although there is no scientific evidence to prove this.

What does the Mayo Clinic say about bone broth? ›

Bone broth is a good choice to include in your diet along with all the other foods that fight inflammation. Organic chicken or beef bone broths (or make your own) have many beneficial nutrients that will help improve bones and joints, along with all the other benefits.

Is bone broth actually healthy? ›

Takeaways. Bone broth combines the richness of a stock with the drinkability of a broth. It can make a healthy addition to your diet and contains nutrients such as collagen, electrolytes, and various amino acids. Consuming bone broth can help reduce inflammation and build muscle when combined with daily exercise.

What kind of bone broth is healthiest? ›

What is the healthiest bone broth on the market? The healthiest bone broth on the market is the Organic bone broth made by Bluebird Provisions because it is the highest protein with 12 grams with 300 mg potassium and no added filler ingredients. It is also low in sodium and tastes absolutely delicious.

How much bone broth should I drink per day? ›

Thankfully, the collagen and amino acids in bone broth are incredibly beneficial for joint aches and pains. While everyone is different, we've seen customers rave about joint pain disappearing with regular bone broth consumption. To see benefits for joints and cartilage, we suggest drinking 2-4 cups of broth per day.

Does bone broth raise blood pressure? ›

Bone broth does not raise blood pressure. It actually lowers your blood pressure because of the natural collagen found in it. Collagen is shown to reduce your blood pressure according to a new review of a Japanese study.

What do doctors think of bone broth? ›

While bone broth can be a nutritious addition to the diet and is generally considered safe to consume, there are some concerns that should be noted,” Wohlford says. These include the risk of consuming too many heavy metals, which can seep into the broth from the animal bones during the cooking process.

What happens when you drink bone broth every morning? ›

Stabilise Your Mood

The first benefit of bone broth in the morning will undoubtedly put a smile on your face, literally. Broth contains an amazing amino acid called glycine. Glycine has been shown to naturally increase our bodies' serotonin, which stabilises mood, wellbeing and all those general feelings of happiness.

Is bone broth healthier than collagen? ›

Bone broth contains extra amino acids that collagen doesn't have because it's made with all the components you'd get from different types of animal sources.

Does store-bought bone broth have collagen? ›

Although there's limited research on the benefits of drinking bone broth, it's a nutritious beverage containing vital nutrients, electrolytes, collagen, and protein, including essential amino acids like lycine, arginine, and glutamine.

Is bone broth anti-inflammatory? ›

Consuming broth that is high in collagen can help replenish our collagen levels and keep us looking younger for longer. If you're looking to reduce inflammation, bone broth is the answer. It's packed with beneficial amino acids, like glycine and arginine, which have impressive anti-inflammatory properties.

Which is better bone broth or stock? ›

Bone broth is by far the most nutrient dense of all the broths, and in my opinion, the most delicious. Bone broth simmers for a much longer time than regular broth or stock, and has a higher ratio of meat and bones to liquid, producing a richer, more flavorful liquid.

Is Swanson sipping bone broth healthy? ›

Swanson® Sipping Chicken Bone Broth Cup is the nutritious snack that's warm and savory, with naturally occurring collagen protein*. Made from chicken bones, vegetables, herbs and spices, this bone broth can be great for special diets.

Why is bone broth so expensive? ›

The ingredients that go into bone broth are typically not expensive. Animal bones, vegetables, and herbs are not highly priced ingredients. However, if the broth is made from quality ingredients and time is taken to roast the bones and simmer them for a day or longer, it can be a labor-intensive process.

Which bone broth has the most collagen? ›

“While beef bone broth and chicken bone broth are healthful, beef bone broth has more collagen per serving. It is also better for gut health, for immunity, for sleep, and for mood. And it's better for skin and nails,” Schiff says.

How does bone broth affect your gut? ›

Bone broth reduces inflammation in the gut.

Bone broth is believed to reduce inflammation in the digestive system, which can alleviate some discomfort. This is believed to be linked to the soothing effect of the bone broth and its nutrients. Ask your doctor if incorporating bone broth into your diet is right for you.

Is bone broth high in cholesterol? ›

One cup of Swanson's Chicken Bone Broth provides 35 calories, 8 grams protein, <1 gram carbohydrates, <1 gram total sugars, and 350 milligrams sodium. It is free of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It also provides 2% of the daily recommended amount of iron and 8% of the daily recommended amount of potassium.

Is bone broth high in sodium? ›

Nutrition Facts:

One cup of bone broth typically has 35-50 calories and 7-10 grams of protein. Sodium varies by brand from 95 mg to nearly 600 mg sodium per cup; higher-sodium, electrolyte-rich bone broth can be an excellent option for athletes who need the extra sodium.

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