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Is Bone Broth Good for You?

To discover the benefits of bone broth, Gideon Remfry – named as one of Men’s Fitness top 25 Trainers in the World –  breaks down some of the ways that bone broth can help the body and how it can work alongside exercise as part of an integrated health, nutrition and fitness approach.


Bone broth and stocks are good for the soul, but are they good for the body? I am very lucky that I do what I love and my integrated health, nutrition and fitness approach is a holistic soup of a few of my favourite things: delicious food, weightlifting, nutritional medicine, Yoga and exercise science. Over a lifetime of learning and 25 years of teaching, I find the more I learn, the less I know, but one theme continually helps me get great success from building wellness programs, right through to supporting clients who are trying to improve health, body composition or performance - *Simple Is Best* - With this in mind, my nutrition method embraces finding delicious food that packs a nutritional medicine punch and tasty heart-warming broth does just that. 


Bone broths have been a rich part of many countries' cultural food heritage and it seems for plenty of good reasons. Cristina Palacios PhD (2006) (1) study suggests that “chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity.” These include inducing a mild anti-inflammatory effect. This may explain why good old stock is prescribed by mamas the world over. It appears they have the insight that the anti-inflammatory effects may be the mechanism by which the soup could result in the alleviation of cold and other upper respiratory tract infection-type symptoms. (Barbara O. Rennard et al, 2000) (2)


Beyond the common cold, bone and tissue health are crucial components of healthy ageing and exercise performance. Ensuring an adequate intake of nutrients such as protein, calcium magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and potassium is essential for this. It is also important to provide a diet rich in food nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to support the metabolic processes related to bone and tissue regeneration, including manganese, selenium, copper, boron, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and the B vitamins.


In my Italian wife’s homemade version, she keeps or adds the protein from the meat she uses in her broth and then uses this base to add a variety of herbs and vegetables. (Kids have this with some pastina mixed in). However the majority of us are time-poor and so to assist in reaping the benefits of this labour-intensive dish, you can use Borough Broth Company's Organic Bone Broth as an alternate base and simply add the protein and extra vegetables to it in exactly the same way. This blends a rich soup of bone, the matrix of connective tissue that functions to support and strengthen the body and valuable nutrients from the matrixes of bone and cartilage combined with the glorious mix of protein and health-giving polyphenols, vitamins and minerals from the colourful vegetables.


We, therefore, have our delicious function food which appears to support health. What if we add physical activity to the menu a few times a week, specifically resistance training?

Weight-bearing exercise may produce stimulation (loading) which is also important for bone health maintenance and improvement. High-intensity resistance training improves bone health and has the added benefit of positively influencing multiple health risk factors including:

-Improves strength and balance
-Increases lean muscle mass
-Decreases body fat and obesity risk
-Improves insulin sensitivity and diabetes risk

Broth & Barbells would seem like a smart approach for a strong body. (Layne JE et al 1999) (4)


We know beyond functional food and nutrition medicine there is a profound healing power that food brings to the table and Jordan D. Troisi et al (2011) (5) summarise it best in their article in Psychological Science about broths; “Chicken Soup Really Is Good for the Soul, Comfort Food which Fulfills the Need to Belong”. So there we have it, my “simple is best” recipe to health; broth, resistance training, vegetables……food and exercise for the body and soul.

Gideon Remfry was selected in the men’s fitness power list of the top 25 Trainers in the World.

His lifetime pursuit of integrated health has led to over 20 years of experience as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist and educator. He has presented for a Men’s health video series, The Gadget Show and was the trainer presenter on Britain’s Top Model. He's held residencies for Men’s Fitness & Men’s Health magazine and has written for a wealth of publications including the book series The Rough Guide to Men’s Health, Vogue, Women’s Health, Red, GQ and BOAT international.

Gideon has amassed extensive qualifications in nutritional therapy (NTdip), UKSCAstrength & conditioning coaching (ACSC), personal training (PIPC3), functional medicine consultant (AFMCPUK) and advanced methods of anthropometrics (body composition analysis).



(Allison Siebecker, 2004) (3) Table of Connective tissue in broth: 

Extra Cellular Matrix Ground Substance Bone: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, fluoride, sodium and potassiumCartilage: chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate, hyaluronic acid

Bone Broth Protein Fibers Bone: collagen I (90%), collagen IIICartilage: collagen II, elastin

Cells Bone: osteocytes

Cartilage: chondrocytes

(1) Cristina Palacios Ph.D.a (2006) The Role of Nutrients in Bone Health, from A to Z. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Volume 46, Issue 8, pages 621-628 Published online: 18 Jan 2007

(2) Barbara O. Rennard, BA; Ronald F. Ertl, BS; Gail L. Gossman, BS; Richard A. Robbins, MD, FCCP; Stephen I. Rennard, MD, FCCP (2000) Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro From the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section, Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Chest. 2000;118(4):1150-1157. doi:10.1378/chest.118.4.1150

(3) Allison Siebecker (2004)Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease Thu, 19 Feb 2004 06:47 UTC.

(4) Layne JE et al (1999) The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review. Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise [1999, 31(1):25-30] (PMID:9927006)

(5) Jordan D. Troisi, Shira Gabriel (2011) Chicken Soup Really Is Good for the Soul. Psychological Science June 2011 vol. 22 no. 6 747-753

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