Nourishing Traditions: How Bone Broths Support Your Adrenals, Bones and Teeth
How Bone Broths Support Your Adrenals, Bones and Teeth
Like supports like
Modern nutritional research continues to prove what traditional cultures learned through observation over time, when we eat a specific part of an animal, it nourishes that same part of our body.
One example of this like supports like principle can be found in Dr. Catherine Shanahanʼs book, Deep Nutrition. Dr. Shanahan explains that the highest source of available vitamin A known to man isnʼt in a carrot or broccoli, but found in the tissue in the back of the eyeball. As vitamin A is known to specifically support healthy eyesight (among many other crucial health supporting roles), it goes without saying that if we consume what Dr. Shanahan calls “those nasty bits,” we will receive the nutritional bounty contained within to support our expression of optimal health. Broths and stocks provide a very easy way to incorporate the health giving benefits of all those culturally unappealing “nasty bits” into our regular diet.
Wouldnʼt it be great if there was a type of intelligence that made it where we could eat a nutrient and have it go to a specific part of the body that needed it most? Well, there is such intelligence in nutrient-dense foods such as bone broths. This concept of an intelligence of a specific nutrient we consume to have an affinity to the same tissues within our own bodies is amazingly simple to our over-intellectualizing culture. Modern science still hasnʼt figured out how this intelligence works but they know that certain compounds have an affinity for certain tissues.
Bone Broths & Traditional Chinese Medicine
From within the traditional Chinese paradigm, bone broth nourishes our kidneys, supports our vital essence (chi), and builds blood. Who wouldnʼt benefit from another bowl of soup?
Bone tissue relates to the kidneys according to Chinese medical theory. So, given the theory of like supports like, consuming bone tissue will support the kidneys and therefore the bones (including the teeth).
The Chinese medical perspective includes the adrenals as part of the system they call the kidneys. So, bone broth directly supports adrenal function. It is recognized that the adrenals perform so many hormonal functions vital to our immune health. Adrenal fatigue is another one of those ʻelephants in the living roomʼ that so many of us in the real food movement are talking about yet remains unheard of in mainstream media.
Bone Broths and Adrenal Support
Bone broths provide the adrenal glands with the much needed nutritional support to help make the shift from survive to thrive. Dr. Shanahan even suggests that the nutritional matrix in bone broths may actually help patch the holes in the kidney tissue that cause the kidneys to function less optimally.
Massive bone support
Bone stock is rich with minerals. Isnʼt it interesting that within bone broth are the exact minerals, in the proper proportions, that our teeth are also made of? 65% of the mineral mass of bone is made up of calcium and phosphorus – the two main minerals that compose our teeth. When making bone broths we stew the bones for several hours, even days, the stock itself becomes very rich with minerals.
Itʼs interesting to note that the bones after making stock are so soft you can push your thumb nail into them. That tells you that the minerals that were in the bone are now in the bone broth.
How does this translate into stronger, healthier teeth that resist decay and even can heal from tooth decay? Well, the mechanism the body utilizes to remineralize the tooth enamel is through the saliva. Provided that the diet has sufficient minerals, the saliva will have the necessary minerals to interact with the tooth enamel to remineralize the teeth. Bone broth provides the necessary minerals in the proper, combinations, to make them available for use throughout the body. (See video Mouth Probiotics to learn more about the role saliva plays in creating greater oral health).
The reason the concept of tooth remineralization is not present in the culture at large is due to the fact that our diets, for the most part, are miserably deficient in the minerals necessary to optimize health.
Making bone stocks is an easy way to massively raise the minerals in oneʼs diet. But the benefits of bone broth go well beyond mineral content.
Fats + Minerals = Bio-available Minerals
The problem with mineral supplements is that we arenʼt what we eat. A more accurate statement is we are what we absorb from what we eat. Mineral uptake is the issue here. The good news is the fats in bone broths help restore greater gut health and therefore increase the absorption rate of the minerals present in broths. So, rather than searching through the vitamin section of your health food store, make friends with the butchers at the meat department and establish your supply for quality bones!
What is bone marrow anyway?
Bone broth also contains the bone marrow. Bone marrow is where the body manufacturers both red and white blood cells. Thus, applying the same principle of like supports like, enjoying regular bone broths will nourish our bodyʼs ability to create healthy blood within our own system.
In the Chinese paradigm, bone marrow is considered the deepest tissue of the body and contains the essence of the being. Itʼs an interesting correlation to consider that modern science has shown that within bone marrow are high concentrations of stem cells, the very organizing influences and genetic material, for the being. It is these essential nutrients that help our bodies continue to build healthy, vital constitutions and repair cellular damage.
The youth serum in bone broths.
There are a series of proteins called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs for short) that are highly concentrated in joint tissues. These GAGs are part of the tissues known as collagen. Over the past several years some GAGs, namely glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, have come into popularity for their documented support of joint and skin tissues. Once consumed, these nutrients go to the connective tissues of joints and other connective tissues of the body where they are needed. While the synthesized compounds like glucosamine sulfate or hydrochloride may be effective in supporting greater connective tissue health, we prefer and advocate the whole food version. After all, what beneficial compounds are still to be discovered contained within bone broth (that science hasnʼt performed clinical trials on)? So, rather than purchase the supplement, go for the bones!
How do glycosaminoglycans relate to increased oral health?
First, the connective tissue restoring capacity of GAGs helps to repair compromised gum tissue that has been damaged and stressed by the ʻbad bugsʼ that cause gum disease. Also, within the process of the breakdown of health that we know as gum disease, one of the things that happens is the bad bugs weaken and damage the ligament (connective tissue) that holds each tooth to the jaw bones, thus resulting in loose teeth and adult tooth loss.
Dr. Shanahan states,
This means that glucosamine-rich broth is a kind of youth serum, capable of rejuvenating your body, no matter what your age. After decades of skepticism, orthopedists and rheumatologists are now embracing its use in people with arthritis, recommending it to ʻovercome or possibly reverse some of the degradation that occurs with injuries or disease. (Deep Nutrition)
When you combine the facts that bone broths make any soup way more delicious, provide the much needed support for our adrenals, offer such a rich source for much needed minerals, nourish our bodyʼs ability to build healthier blood, along with care for all the connective tissues throughout our bodies, you can see why we consider bone broths to be such a foundational dietary pillar for anyone looking to navigate to greater oral health as well as create optimal system wide immunological health.