Can You Consume Too Much Bone Broth

Can You Consume Too Much Bone Broth?

Many nutritional supplements help improve the immune system, enrich muscle function and boost gut health. Ordinarily, these advantages occur with a medley of supplements. However, bone broth protein powder is a one-stop supplement that offers a wide range of benefits in one powder. We have a wide range of bone broth benefits at Bone Broth

Specifically, bone broth protein is a powder that works to improve the skin, boost the immune system, aid healthy digestion and even help keep the joints healthy. This supplement has been around for quite some time but has recently become more popular among health enthusiasts. Bone broth protein contains essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, hyaluronic acid, potassium, chondroitin, and glucosamine. It is often a favourite for people with difficulties tolerating other types of protein supplements. Bone protein is paleo-friendly since it doesn’t contain gluten, soy or dairy.


What is Bone Broth Protein?

Bone broth protein is dehydrated bone broth liquid or bone broth soup. Then the dehydrated liquid is converted into an extremely nutritious, easy-to-use powder. Bone broth protein denotes a concentrated, powdered form of bone broth.

Bone broth consists of tissue, cartilage, marrow and bone from several animals. Broth protein is flexibly made from chicken bone broth, beef bone broth, pork bone broth or even fish bone broth. The majority of commercial bone broth protein powders are made from the tissues and bones of chicken or beef tissue and bones from grass-fed cows. All forms of bone broth protein are devoid of egg, soy and whey protein.

The connective tissue, marrow and bones from animals contain high essential vitamin concentrations. Along with healthy nutrients, bone broth protein is rich in collagen that’s only found in the tissues themselves. Collagen-specific amino acids such as glycine and proline reside in animal bones and tissues in high concentrations, similar to those in human skeletal muscles.

With the explosion of the bone broth craze in recent years, millions of people have learned about their health benefits. But what if bone broth is bad for your health too? Thankfully, the benefits far outweigh any potential downsides.

However, contrary to popular belief, there is one downside.

In my recent presentation about Asian bone broths at the annual Nutritional Therapy Association conference in Portland, Oregon, I started out by discussing this little known health issue. I wanted my fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (NTPs) to be aware of this as it’s something I’ve only come to understand myself in recent years.

The minerals, of course, come from the bones. And the collagen comes from animal parts that are rich in connective tissue such as feet, necks, backs, heads, wings, tails and even internal organs. Traditionally, cultures used all parts of animals in bone broths for this very reason.

Many people now buy pricey collagen-derived supplements that help with a variety of inflammatory issues without realizing a simple homemade bone broth has all the same nutrients at a fraction of the cost. And those nutrients are in their whole, natural form in a bone broth.

The longer you simmer the bones and animal parts, the more mineral and collagen-rich the broth becomes.

Most people who drink bone broth daily experience an improvement in how they feel after about four weeks. But for about one per cent of people, drinking bone broth may make them feel worse. Read on to find out more.

People who feel worse from drinking bone broth may experience the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • digestive upset
  • increased heart rate
  • skin flushing or itching
  • hot flashes or increased sweating
  • swelling in your hands or feet
  • muscle, joint, or back pain
  • dry mouth, sneezing or a runny nose

These symptoms normally occur because of either a reaction to the glutamine content (a glutamic acid sensitivity) or the histamine content (a histamine intolerance) in bone broth. They are a signal that your body is overloaded with one or both of these substances. There is one culprit in particular that we believe may increase the level of glutamic acid in your body — MSG, and we will address it later in this article.

Experiencing side effects to bone broth doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good choice for you; it means that you may want to take a closer look at your food choices and gradually reduce your consumption of foods that contain glutamic acid and histamines.

Below we break down these two issues; glutamic acid and histamines and individually recommend changes to overcome them.


Precautions & Warnings

Excess Glutamate

Glutamine has many roles in the body, including glutamine and GABA conversion. These two neurotransmitters are essential for stable mental health and balanced brain chemistry. GABA works to calm, while glutamate stimulates. When something interrupts this delicate balance, it can lead to several negative side effects. In most cases, excess glutamine in the brain causes imbalance.

Bone broth protein contains natural glutamate, but other food or supplements in the diet may also provide natural or synthetic glutamate. A wide range of commercial food and beverages contain synthetic glutamate such as MSG. Consuming high quantities of synthetic and natural glutamate causes overstimulated nerve cells. Synthetic glutamate is also in many other processed food items, such as hydrolyzed protein, yeast extract and other synthetic flavonoids. Bone Broth has a wide range of best bone broth benefits in Melbourne

Added Lead

Many types of bone broth carry a risk of lead contamination. The amount of lead falls well under the levels that the United States Environmental Protection Agency lists as safe. Still, it’s important to calculate your daily intake to remain within safe levels. Several factors play a role in the final lead concentrations — the type of broth, the brand and where the animals were raised.

Glutamic Acid Sensitivity

Glutamic acid is an amino acid found in both plant and animal protein sources. The body also makes glutamic acid. The most common form in the body is called glutamate. This amino acid is extremely important and acts as a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) which excites our cells by communicating instructions for brain growth, memory, and learning. Thinking of glutamate as a stimulant helps us to understand why an overabundance of it causes symptoms of increased heart rate, flushing, and feeling wired but tired.

Most of the glutamate that we eat is bound to a protein, like chicken, which is generally easy to digest and is absorbed slowly. However, some foods contain free glutamate (not bound to a protein) which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Foods that naturally contain free glutamate include:

  • Bone broth
  • Meat cooked over moist heat for long periods of time
  • Cured meats: bacon, ham
  • Matured cheeses: Parmesan, Roquefort
  • Fish sauce, soy sauce, soy protein
  • Mushrooms
  • Ripe tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Walnuts
  • Grape juice (wine)
  • Malted barley (used to make beer)
  • Wheat gluten
  • Dairy casein (milk protein)
  • Man-made MSG

Notice that all MSG is human-made, and that’s often the problem. The other foods contained in the above list occur in nature. Most people eating moderate amounts of these foods would feel fine. But, in today’s world, human-made MSG can tip the scales. Although research is mixed about the potential long-term effects of MSG, studies have found it to induce symptoms as common as headaches and as complex as hormone disruption.

If a person’s diet contains more MSG and, therefore, more free glutamate in their body, it may be difficult for them to tolerate the naturally-occurring forms of free glutamate found in other foods because their system is overloaded. 

If you think that you don’t eat MSG, think again. This ingredient is hidden on food labels and may also be listed as natural flavouring, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein, or hydrolyzed pea protein. 

Here are a few tips for evaluating if you are sensitive to glutamic acid:

  • Monitor the food that you eat for five days and note if they contain MSG or any of the ingredients as mentioned above. Take note of any symptoms that are aggravated after eating foods that contain MSG.
  • Also, monitor your intake of foods that contain free glutamic acid. Take note of any symptoms that may be aggravated by eating these foods.
  • has more in-depth information on MSG Sensitivity.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and request your Vitamin B6 levels to be tested. Low B6 has been linked to MSG sensitivity.

Tips to reduce the amount of free glutamate in your diet:

  • Check all packaged food labels for monosodium glutamate and the ingredients listed above, including those that are marketed as healthy foods.
  • Ask restaurant staff if MSG is used as an ingredient in the food they serve.
  • Reduce consumption of the foods that naturally contain free glutamate from the list above — especially cured meats, fish sauce, soy sauce, soy protein (veggie burgers), wine, and beer.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and request your Vitamin B6 levels to be tested. Low B6 has been linked to MSG Sensitivity.


Histamine Intolerance

What is histamine? Histamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that your body produces) which works to keep your immune, digestive, and nervous system functioning properly. It helps to alert your body to substances that your immune system sees as a threat, causing an inflammatory response that triggers processes to get those substances out — like sneezing, a runny nose, gastric disturbances, and itchiness.

Histamine is an essential neurotransmitter the body produces naturally. It helps to keep the nervous system, immune system and digestive system working correctly. It’s also one of the first lines of defence against harmful substances. When the body encounters a substance, it sees as a threat, and it triggers an inflammatory response during an allergic reaction, such as itching or congestion. It may also cause stomachaches or hives. In most cases, histamine is favourable, but if there’s too much in the body, it can sometimes cause a reaction.

So, histamine is normally a good thing — but you’ve heard the adage “too much of a good thing.” Extra histamine is normally easily broken down in the body by enzymes such as DAO (Diamine Oxidase) in the intestine. But if histamines start to build up, you may experience symptoms like the ones listed above.

Gut inflammation inhibits DAO from breaking down histamines, which may cause your immune system to go into overdrive. However, once the inflammation is reduced, the histamine symptoms normally disappear.

Now, this may feel like a catch-22 because bone broth is one of the foods that supports gut health AND it is a histamine-containing food.

By eliminating the other histamine-containing foods from your diet, you will reduce your overall histamine load and may be able to tolerate small amounts of bone broth which supports gut health and may enable you to increase your consumption.

Here are a few tips to help you evaluate yourself for histamine intolerance:

  • Make a list of all the foods you eat for five days.
    • How many of these foods contain histamines?
    • How many have sat in the fridge for more than 24 hours?
  • Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.


When bone broth is bad: Excess Glutamate

One of the glutamine’s many roles in the body is to convert to two neurotransmitters essential for good mental health – glutamate and GABA. These play balancing but opposite effects on brain chemistry.

In particular, glutamate is stimulating, and GABA is calming. In a healthy person, the two are kept in a delicate but balanced ratio.

Problems can develop when there’s excessive glutamate in the brain, which can lead to the following symptoms.

This can be exacerbated by a diet high in both synthetic and naturally occurring glutamates.

The primary culprit is, of course, monosodium glutamate (MSG), a synthetic form of glutamate and an excitotoxin that is known to overly stimulate nerve cells and cause neurological issues, among other health problems.

But synthetic glutamates exist in myriad forms in hundreds of processed foods beyond just MSG such as yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, natural flavours and other types of flavourings. These chemicals all give processed foods a meaty taste. They are prevalent in all commercial canned broths and soups, including most organic ones too.

Unfortunately, glutamates exist naturally in healthy foods too. Though not as concentrated as in processed foods and not problematic in a healthy person, those who are sensitive need to avoid even healthy sources.

And unfortunately, that includes a long-cooked bone broth.

After I gave my presentation, someone came up to me and said, “You know I’ve never understood why after I drank bone broth I’d get migraines. I think I understand now.”

As a Nutritional Therapist, I’ve seen this in many clients as well.


Don’t Think Free Glutamine or Histamine Is Your Problem?

It is also possible that you are not reacting to bone broth. Many people drastically change their diets when they start introducing bone broth. If you have suddenly stopped eating sugar or reduced your carbohydrate consumption, then you may be experiencing something called the “carb flu” or the “keto flu”. These flu-like symptoms usually last about a week, and drinking bone broth will help you to get through them.

Try the above suggestions and see if they help you feel better. However, if you are still experiencing symptoms, we recommend consulting a nutritionist or other healthcare provider.


Is there a difference between stock and broth?

There are subtle differences between broth and stock. The broth is usually referred to as a liquid that has had meat cooked in it. It’s made by simmering meat (sometimes with bones) and seasonings for up to two hours.

Stock is made by simmering bones (sometimes with meat) with a mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery) in water. Stock is often not seasoned and cooked from two to six hours.

Bone broths are being touted as helping everything from joint pain to gut inflammation to improving your skin. Is there any truth to these claims?

Many of these claims are based on the idea that drinking a collagen-rich broth goes directly into the body as collagen, but this is not supported by science.

When you consume something with collagen, it is digested into amino acids (i.e., broken apart) and then your body gets to choose how to use those amino acids. It could become something else your body needs because amino acids are the building blocks for protein, which can be turned into enzymes, body tissue, something for your immune system, whatever your body needs.

However, you can’t expect that consuming something rich in collagen means it converts back to collagen, which is why the claim that bone broth can improve skin health, for example, is unsupported.

Are there reasons to be cautious about consuming too much bone broth?

Too much of anything is not a good thing. The nutritional content of bone broth would depend on how much fat is left in the broth, the amount of sodium and whether or not it contains vegetables. A low fat, low sodium, vegetable-rich bone broth would be a healthy meal.


How to Still Get the Benefits of Bone Broth?

If you feel that you may be reacting to bone broth due to a glutamic acid sensitivity or histamine intolerance, don’t despair. Try the steps below to incorporate bone broth into your diet and gain the benefits.

The first thing to do is to greatly reduce or eliminate the sources of free glutamate and or histamines in your diet for 2 to 4 weeks. Then:

  • Start by drinking a ¼ cup of bone broth every two days for a week.
  • If no symptoms occur, increase to a ¼ cup every other day for one week.
  • Then increase to a ¼ cup every day for two weeks.
  • Then to a ½ cup every day and so on until you work your way up to a cup per day.

During this process, it is extremely important that you don’t let your spare bone broth sit in the fridge. Remember, as leftovers age, their histamine content increases. Any unused bone broth or cooked food must be stored in the freezer.

For bone broth, the easiest thing to do is freeze it in ice cube trays and just pop out what you need. Two standard ice cubes equal about a ¼ cup. The Kettle & Fire blog has a recipe for you on how to make Bone Broth Ice Cubes.

Meat broth, like homemade chicken soup, contains properties similar to bone broth. So you can try diluting your bone broth with Homemade Chicken Stock to decrease your sensitivity while still providing your body with nutrients.


Finally, what are some keys to making a healthful soup?

Use ingredients that you enjoy — you won’t want to eat it if it’s full of stuff you don’t like — and be creative with an eye to nutrition. Try using lower-sodium options, especially if using a premade broth or stock, and use plenty of herbs and spices, salting “to taste” at the end. Also, don’t be afraid to use frozen or canned vegetables as many frozen vegetables contain more nutrients than their “out of season” counterparts. When using canned vegetables, just make sure they’re low- or no-sodium.

Luckily, the solution is simple. It doesn’t mean all bone broth is bad for you. It just means you need to reduce the simmer time and consume shorter cooked bone broths. It may not be as nutrient-dense, but its easily digestible, gut soothing qualities remain.

For poultry, a good simmer time is 1-3 hours. For beef, lamb and bison, shoot for 2-4 hours. And for fish, well, you should never simmer the fish broth for longer than an hour anyway, so the fish broth is never a problem!

When you do this in conjunction with eliminating processed foods and incorporating a good gut-healing protocol, over time, you should be able to tolerate longer cooked bone broths (and other natural sources of glutamate). v Check out our Melbourne best bone broth benefits here. 

Bone broth protein powder is a natural way to improve general health without synthetic additives or complicated dosing schedules. Bone broth proteins are made from animal bones and connective tissues. Even those with soy, gluten or dairy restrictions can still meet their daily protein needs.

The powder may be a great way to make sure that energy metabolism functions at an optimal level. Bone broth protein may also be effective in helping reduce leaky gut syndromes and other inflammatory intestinal diseases. People suffering from bone and joint problems such as osteoarthritis may notice their pain decrease as the collagen from the powder lubricates the joints. Granted, you can make your bone broth at home, but who wants to dedicate six to 10 hours of the day, along with the added expense of ingredients, when you can pick up specially formulated bone broth protein powder more affordably? Although they may be effective, protein powder or other supplements are not an adequate replacement for medical advice or treatment. Always consult a doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.

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