The Dangers of Bone Broth Protein Supplements: How It's Made and Why It's Bad For Your Health

The Dangers of Bone Broth Protein Supplements

Can you trust Ancient Nutrition, Dr. Axe’s Bone Broth Protein or their competitors? Despite the claims, there are some shocking things you need to know before buying.

You'll learn the heavy processing that goes into making it, the sketchy sourcing and why you should stick to real bone broth made using a traditional 'low and slow' simmer.

Before we get started, I want to mention that my company makes and sells a real chicken bone broth powder with 12 g protein per serving. It has two simple ingredients and is made for sipping or cooking. If you're looking for something new, give it a try.

With that out of the way, let's get into it.

how to choose the right bone broth for you

What is bone broth protein?

Bone bone protein is a nutritional supplement that helps you get your daily dose of bone broth, even if you don't want to cook or make it yourself. It's in a convenient powder format and contains some of the nutrients found in bone broth.

It mixes readily into water or any other liquid, making it easy to use on a daily basis.There are no added carbs or fat. Just protein and amino acids.

It is commonly used by people who are allergic to other protein powders. However, this is misplaced because it does not provide adequate amino acids for muscle growth.

How Bone Broth Protein is Made

Bone broth protein is made by first making bone broth, then using chemicals, enzymes and heavy processing to remove the taste, dehydrating it to a powder, then adding flavors (those dreaded 'natural' ones), gums (like acacia) and fillers to make it taste good.

As you can see from the image below, it is a heavily processed supplement. This is because you need chemical processing to isolate the protein and remove the bone broth taste.

How bone broth protein is made

You can find it made from beef or chicken bones. These will have slightly different health benefits because of the different types of collagen and amino acids found in each.

It is getting so popular that brands cut corners to lower their prices. It is a race to the bottom where the actual manufacturers are trying to find cheaper ways to make it. I assure you, the company you buy it from does not actually make the product. They buy it from a manufacturer.

The harsh processing and chemicals used strips many natural nutrients, electrolytes (like potassium) and proteins out of bone broth, leaving you with a synthetic powder devoid of nutrition.

We don’t know how well synthetic nutrients are absorbed by your body. More on that at the end. 

What are the benefits of bone broth protein?

Bone broth protein has less health benefits than the real stuff, but you still get some benefit because of the protein and collagen found within it. Here's what you can expect:

  1. It has amino acids that are great for skin, hair and bones.
  2. Joints: It is a natural source of hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, proline and chondroitin. Though these values are lower than real stuff.
  3. Immunity: The anti-inflammatory effects can reduce the symptoms of colds and help you recover faster from exercise.
  4. Sleep: The amino acid glycine can help you sleep better by decreasing your core body temperature at night. This helps with focus during the day.
  5. Diabetes: Glycine can be used to control blood sugar spikes and insulin in those with type two diabetes.
  6. Gut Health: The gelatin and amino acids in bone broth protein can help prevent ulcers or improve the lining of the digestive tract.
  7. Allergen Free: Bone broth protein is a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy free, grain-free and nut free protein shake option.

Bone Broth Protein Risks

The risks with bone broth protein are allergic reactions, shady products from overseas sources and poor nutrition due to the heavy processing.

The first is histamine intolerance. A small percentage of the population is sensitive to histamines. High protein broths will trigger an allergic reaction. This could mean headaches, stomach pain, diarrhea irritations and nausea. This will stop when you stop taking it and you have other options too. You can try taking 1/8 the recommended serving to start. Then gradually go up from there if you can tolerate it.

There are other reactions to the gums, fillers and flavors that many brands add to make it taste like chocolate or vanilla. Be wary of these additives. You can see below from Ancient Nutrition. They add guar gum and xanthan gum, both are gut irritants.

ancient nutrition added flavors, gums, fillers

The second is buying from gmo and overseas sources. Many products on the market are made from raw materials that originate overseas in Asia and South America. The ethical, environmental and sanitation standards for animal rearing and food processing are far different from the USA, Canada and Europe. As a result, these products are packaged in the USA but sourced from overseas.

These products are likely full of hormones, antibiotics and come from animals fed GMO crops and raised in awful conditions. This makes for a poor quality bone broth.

The last risk is poor nutrition. The ultra processed nature of these products is such that is strips nutrition out of the bone broth. The protein remains, but you are missing all of the hydrating electrolytes that make bone broth unique.

Don't believe me? Look at the nutrition facts and find potassium and magnesium. There should be at least 250mg potassium for chicken sourced products and 80 mg or beef. The same processing strips glucosamine, glutamine, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin from it.

If your brand does not list the potassium, then ask them and see how they answer the question.

You might as well be taking a collagen powder at this point as they are sometimes cheaper.

How do I use bone broth protein?

You can use bone broth powder in warm beverages, soups, stews, sauces or cooking recipes. Most people drink it on its own for the nutrition benefits. In this case, you can simply mix it with hot water. You can do this any time of the day. Find out the best time of day to drink bone broth.

It works best pre-workout to fuel your tendons and muscles. Some also use it post workout. It is versatile so you can add it to anything you're cooking. From a stir fry to pasta sauce to a soup or chili, there are endless possibilities.

Photo of a man scooping 16 grams bone broth protein into a blender

The secret use is for cooking rice, quinoa... or any other grains you may have in your diet. Substitute water for broth servings in cooking. It can also be added to smoothies, porridge, overnight oatmeal, salad dressing or stir frys.

The nice thing about bone broth protein is that it's free of common allergens and great for people who are sensitive to dairy, grains, eggs, beef, nuts or legumes.

For endless inspiration you can read our our new recipe book: Ultimate Guide to Sipping Bone Broth. The ebook gives you 16 delicious and healthy recipes to spice up your cup of broth. You can download it or get a free copy with any purchase of at our store.

What is the best bone broth protein powder?

Bluebird Provisions makes the best bone broth protein powder because it is made with an optimal blend of amino acids, electrolytes and minerals. It is a chicken bone broth powder that does not use the same heavy processing as most proteins on the market. It is made using a traditional recipe, then gently dehydrated into a convenient powder.

the best bone broth protein on the market

Other products on the market are subject to the issues I mentioned above in the 'risks' section. If you are going to look for another option, be sure to check our bone broth powder buyers guide for a detailed breakdown of the top 20 powders / proteins you'll find on Amazon and online.

This guide covers Ancient Nutrition, Dr. Kellyann, Left Coast, Lonolife, Naked, Bare Bones, Jarrow, Vital Proteins and more.

Is bone broth a complete protein?

Bone broth is not a complete protein because it does not have enough of the 9 essential amino acids to be considered complete. Now the definition is a bit nonsense and outdated, but these are the current standards.

What does his mean if you want to drink it? In layman's terms, you cannot get all of your dietary protein from bone broth alone. Your body will not survive because it is not getting enough of the essential amino acids to function in the long-term.

You need other protein sources other than bone broth. From a practical perspective, if you are eating 3 meals a day from a variety of different foods, you can generally cover the recommended daily intake for protein.

From here, bone broth helps to buffer the harmful effects of animal proteins and adds many other health benefits that you do not get from other protein sources and they help with food absorption.

Where can I buy bone broth protein powder?

You can buy bone broth powder online or on Amazon. Look for one that actually tastes like chicken or beef and has not been flavored with vanilla or chocolate flavors. Your broth should taste like the animal it comes from. If not, it's been messed with using harmful additives, gums and fillers.

The best option is from Bluebird Provisions, which has perfected dehydration processes, has 12 g protein and is low sodium chicken broth at only 130 mg per cup.

What is the difference between chicken and beef bone broth powders?

The main differences between chicken and beef bone broth powders is the taste. Beef has a stronger flavor that is not for everyone, while chicken has a familiar taste of a delicious chicken soup broth. If you are new to it, try chicken first.

Beyond the taste and obvious ingredient differences, beef is better for some things, while chicken is the answer for others.

difference between chicken and beef bone broth powders infographic

Beef bone broth for gut health, sleep and collagen protein

Beef is better for gut health and sleep support because it has slightly more of a key amino acid called glycine due to the type III collagen that it's made of (from beef). Glycine heals your gut and prepares your brain and body for sleep by helping you relax.

It helps to form new connective tissue throughout your gut, which is great for digestion. Beef also tends to have a bit more collagen per serving, but the it's a very small distinction.

Chicken is better for skin health, joints and has more hydrating electrolytes

Chicken bone broth is made of type II collagen, which makes it a bit better for joint pain, tendon health and hydrating your skin to help reduce aging and wrinkles. It also has more electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and phosphorous than beef. This is because of the chicken bones and skin.

Read my in-depth comparison article for a full list of differences between chicken and beef bone bone broth.

Closing Thoughts

Bone broth protein is a good fit if you're looking for protein and nothing else. However, there are issues with the sourcing, safety and quality of most products you find on the market.

You are best to opt for a real bone broth powder instead. These products are made using traditional long simmers and are not subject to the heavy processing that goes into making bone broth protein.

Bluebird Provisions makes a fantastic and delicious tasting powder you can try on Amazon or on their website. Try some today with a 60 day money back guarantee. Don't like it after 60 days? Simply email us and get a refund.

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"Amazing!

Great taste and texture. Will be purchasing this again. Works great on its own for sipping and also in soup!"

Adrienne L