Is there truth that you can use bone broth for skin health? Will bone broth give you glowing skin? Read on.
Many nutrition enthusiasts swear by bone broth to get youthful looking skin. How come? Bone broth has unique components that can restore healthy looking skin.
We will discuss these fascinating compounds found only in bone broth that give you great skin. But first let's discuss the basics of bone broth before we dive deeper into bone broth for skin health.
What is Bone Broth
Bone broth is made from simmering animal bones, meat and cartilage for hours on end.
The ‘low and slow’ simmer is needed to extract the collagen protein, hyaluronic acid and other skin healing properties from the bones.
This article explains why bone broth is the ultimate beverage for the health of your skin.
What Bone Broth Ingredients Build Healthy Skin?
Bone broth for healthy skin is typically made with 5-8 ingredients. In reality, there are 2 ingredients responsible for the skin healing benefits of bone broth: water and bones.
The remaining ingredients you’ll find in bone broth are aromatics, vegetables, herbs and spices. These ingredients are for taste only and do not contribute to skin health.
You should be wary of bone broth brands stacking healthy ingredients at the end of their ingredient list. This healthy halo ingredient stuffing typically has no nutritional benefit as the ingredients are in such small amounts.
Bone Broth Nutrition
Be sure to check your nutrition labels on any bone broth you plan on trying to ensure that it qualifies as bone broth.
There are few calories in bone broth. Depending on the type of bone broth, you can expect 20-60 calories per cup.
Bone Broth Protein
You can expect between 8-12 grams of protein per cup of bone broth. Anything less than 8 grams and it is not bone broth and simply a broth.
There are tons of products on the market masquerading as bone broth with 4-6 grams of protein per serving. Avoid these products as they will not contribute any skin health benefits of bone broth.
Bone Broth Carbohydrates
Bone broth should not have carbohydrates. If it does, the maker used too many aromatics and vegetables in the recipe. This causes the starch from the vegetables to seep into the bone broth.
Bone Broth Fat
Bone broth can be high fat or low fat. A cup of bone broth can range from 0 grams of fat to 8 grams of fat.
Fat is the age-old debate among bone broth enthusiasts. Why? Because you can adjust the amount of fat in your bone broth by choosing to remove the ‘fat cap’ or layer that forms on cooked bone broth.
Most brands completely remove the fat during the cooling process. Some home cooks prefer to leave the fat as it adds amazing taste and some fat soluble vitamins.
Bone broth for skin health should be low in sodium: in the 130-230 mg range per serving. If your bone broth has more sodium than 250 mg then it is a cause of concern.
Why Your Skin Health Declines in the First Place
Collagen is a crucial component in your hair, skin, teeth and nails.
The tricky thing is that as you age, your natural collagen production declines leading to a gradual deterioration of our hair, skin, teeth and nails.
Visible signs of skin health decline are wrinkled skin, dry skin or osteoporosis.
Here’s what accelerates the decline of collagen in your skin:
- Sun exposure
- Life stresses
- Environmental pollutants
By the age of 60, collagen decline is certainly noticeable. That is because your skin is losing crucial components.
Read our guide for specific strategies to increase collagen production.
Skin Healing Bone Broth: What’s in it?
Properly made bone broth is 90-98% collagen protein. I say properly made because you must follow a specific recipe to make bone broth for skin health.
If you do not find a bone broth with at least 8 grams of protein per serving, you will not reap any of the skin healing benefits of bone broth.
Here are a few components in bone broth that are shown to help build healthy, vibrant skin.
- Collagen - the building block for your skin (1). Responsible for many of the skin health benefits of bone broth.
- Hyaluronic acid - naturally found in your body. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold onto moisture and water. Hyaluronic acid in bone broth will be discussed in detail below.
- Glucosamine - helps to stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid in your body. This helps to accelerate wound healing, improve skin hydration and decrease wrinkles (3).
- Glycine - an amino acid in your body that is crucial to collagen production (4). Glycine is one third of collagen by weight.
- Proline - an amino acid that helps heal wounds to promote healthy skin (5).
- Potassium - an electrolyte that helps keep your skin hydrated.
- Magnesium - an electrolyte responsible for production antioxidants to ward off infection and keep you healthy.
Bone Broth for Skin Health, is it Collagen?
Now that we know that the protein in bone broth is mainly collagen, we can peer into the collagen research on skin health.
Turns out, there is a ton of positive research showing collagen’s skin health benefits.
What do I mean by skin elasticity?
Your skin is made of collagen fibers. These fibers get damaged as you age (or from alcohol, stress, sun, etc).
Increasing the collagen content of these fibers by drinking bone broth for skin health can restore proper collagen levels in aged skin (8).
When you replace these old collagen fibers with new collagen, it directly increases your skin's hydration status.
You’ll notice that your skin appears more hydrated, smooth and supple.
The same hydration mechanism works for your hair, teeth and nails.
Why not just take collagen then?
Good question. Bone broth for skin health has so much to it that collagen does not.
You can read a primer on Collagen vs. Bone Broth here.
Hyaluronic Acid in Bone Broth
Another important component in bone broth for building healthy skin is hyaluronic acid.
But what is it?
Hyaluronic acid is a part of your skin that helps maintain it’s hydration. It plays a crucial role in wound healing, skin repair and tissue regeneration.
Youthful skin retains its resilience and pliability, due to its high water content. Normal aging causes a loss of moisture… which is bad for your skin.
Hyaluronic acid has a unique capacity for retaining water in your skin (9).
Hyaluronic acid is also shown to improve the quality of life in those suffering from dry skin (10).
Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in chicken bone broth and beef bone broth. This is because bone broth is made from bones and cartilage that are rich in hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid and collagen, which is also found in bone broth, work together to keep your skin hydrated and beautiful.
Hyaluronic acid is a huge factor in healthy skin and bone broth.
Glucosamine’s Role in Bone Broth for Healthy Skin
You may be familiar with glucosamine and chondroitin: a popular supplement for relieving joint pain.
Glucosamine is fascinating. It’s health benefits extend to gut health, viral infections, irritable bowel disease, athletic performance and skin health.
Glucosamine stimulates hyaluronic acid (see above) to accelerate wound healing, improve skin health and even decrease wrinkles (11).
Bone broth is a great whole food source of glucosamine.
Electrolytes for Skin Health
Electrolytes are an often overlooked component of our skin health nutrition strategy. The best way to get these hydrating electrolytes is from real food sources like bone broth.
You need appropriate levels of hydration in your skin to optimize your skin health and for effective wound healing (12).
Bone broth restores healthy skin by providing the building blocks for hydrating your skin and keeping it healthy.
You can find the following skin healing electrolytes in bone broth:
You can see that I mentioned sodium on the list. Isn’t sodium bad? Not necessarily. Sodium is incredibly important for maintaining fluid balance in your blood. It works with potassium to maintain proper hydration in your skin and body.
Sodium is naturally found in bone broth. It is the bone broth with a ton of added salt that you want to be aware of. Added salt will not help bone broth for healthy skin.
Slow simmered bone broth is the ultimate source of electrolytes for healthy skin.
One cup of chicken bone broth has 400mg potassium (10% DV), along with phosphorus (50mg), chloride (115mg), magnesium and sodium (150-200mg) to cover your skin hydration needs.
If you are looking for youthful, glowing skin then bone broth is a logical choice. There is no downside and the components found in bone broth are shown to increase skin health in the following ways:
- Bone broth is full of collagen to improve skin elasticity and decrease age related skin issues like wrinkles and crow’s feet.
- Bone broth contains skin building amino acids like glycine, proline and glucosamine.
- Bone broth is full of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin retain moisture which improves all markers of skin health.
- Hydration is an important component of your skin’s health. You can cover your electrolyte and hydration needs using bone broth for skin health.
Getty images: Nakdee
Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA or CFIA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your primary care physician for advise on any of this.