Gut Healing Bone Broth

If you're like me, than you grew up making soup broth using bones from the chicken you just cooked, or the beef bones from the butcher. It added flavour to the soup and made you feel like you were using all parts of the animal. So when 'Bone Broth' became a craze in the medical world, I was left wondering "what's the difference?" Turns out - to get more benefits from the bones (and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments), you need to cook them for much longer than when making typical soup stock. Read, when we make broth for soup, usually we only cook it for about 1-2 hours. Bone broth requires 8 - 24 hours. This extra time releases more of the minerals from the bones, which are then absorbed easily by our bodies: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine. All incredibly beneficial for healing and repairing our skin, mucous membranes, ligaments, hair and our gut tissue. 


Benefits of Bone Broth

As a naturopathic doctor, I use glutamine in supplement form with patients when it comes to healing leaky gut, or damaged gut cells from inflammation and dysbiosis. Gelatin, which is a breakdown of collagen that comes from the marrow, is mostly made of glycine and other tissue-healing and strengthening amino acids, which is why collagen and gelatin products are so popular for strong hair & nails. I also use glycine for supporting calming the gut and supporting patients with anxiety. Collagen & proline, along with Vitamin C, are key for repairing skin tissue. Silicia is famed for helping keep our hair & nails strong. Of course calcium and magnesium and phosphorus are beneficial for our bones and muscles. So it would seem in addition to eating dark leafy green vegetables, having bone broth is another way to get your nutrients in. The only downside? Cooking the bones the way we do for bone broth, also releases harmful minerals that are trapped in the bone, like lead. It is for this reason that I do not recommend doing a bone broth fast. However, a cup or two a week with your regular food consumption, can be a great way to get your nutrients. 

Want more bang for your buck? Add these veggies from this Immune Boosting Recipe for double-nutrient whammy.

How to Make Bone Broth

I prefer to use a slow cooker, but you can do this on the stove, both for the same amount of time. You can literally use a pile of bones in a pot, cover with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, than cover with water and boil for 8 hours. Boil for longer to make a more concentrated product. I have some patients boil the water right out, to make a jello, and put it into ice-cube trays and keep in the freezer. Then add 1-2 ice-cube bone-broth jello's to any meal. 

Ingredients (you will need a mesh strainer too)

  • 2 - 2.5 pounds of chicken, beef, lamb or fish bones (go to the butcher, where you're more likely to get grass fed, organic products). For those that don't know, bones are like $2. 
  • Add any vegetable scraps from your cooking (I keep mine in the freezer until I'm ready to use them).
  • 1 - 1.5 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped (bonus, no need to peel)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • salt to taste (use iodinized sea salt). 
  • Apple Cider Vingar, 2 tablespoons for chicken bones, 3 tablespoons for fish, 1/4 cup for beef 
  • enough water to cover the bones


Throw some oil down in a large pot, simmer your onions and veg, with some salt. Then add your bones and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 8-24 hours. The beauty of a slow-cooker is you can leave it on during the day, or overnight, and leave the house.

The longer you cook it, the more mineral rich and dense the broth will become. Then strain into mason jars, leave about 1.5 inches of room at the top, and store in the freezer. 

Feeling Lazy? 

For those of us in Toronto, Sanagan's meat locker has bone broth for sale by the cup (~$3.50) as does Impact Kitchen (and it's delicious!).

Bon appetit!

Dr. Kaylee