I Currently Drink a Cup of Bone Broth in the Morning and at Dinner. Should I Temporarily Skip Solid Meals to Get the Full Benefits?
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No, you don’t need to stop eating regular, solid meals to enjoy the full health benefits of our bone broth.
However, if you are interested in maximizing your weight loss in the minimum amount of time, then a period of intermittent fasting might be an option to consider.
We recommend the 21 Day Bone Broth Diet by New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci. In this diet, you eat Paleo meals for five days and fast for two. On the days that you are eating the Paleo meals, you consume one to three cups of bone broth. On the days you are fasting, you drink three to six cups of bone broth. Besides the usual benefits such as improved skin condition, improved gut health, and increased energy, readers also report rapid weight loss of up to 15 pounds in 21 days. We have included a sample diet here with the quantities for you to follow.
If you would like some ideas on how to include bone broth into your regular, solid meals, have a look at The Kettle & Fire Blog. We have great recipes to inspire you!
I've Been Experiencing a Lot of Gas and Cramping. Could Bone Broth Be the Cause?
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We're sorry to hear that you've been experiencing discomfort. It’s always best to go and see your healthcare practitioner if you have been feeling uncomfortable for an extended period i.e. more than seven days.
If you have only had gas and cramping for a short time, have a look at your diet. Have you introduced any new foods that might be causing the cramps? For example, have you included additional fibrous vegetables or added other fibrous foods to your diet? If you have introduced nothing else and have just introduced bone broth to your diet or have started to follow our detox plan, you could be experiencing a side-effect from the healthy detoxing that naturally occurs while on bone broth. Numerous detox sites state that the sudden release of built-up toxins can be indications that your detox diet is working. To minimize the effects during this time, the Detox & Body Cleanse website suggests rubbing chamomile oil on the stomach to minimize discomfort.
You could also be experiencing side-effects from the bone broth itself because of a sensitivity to the glutamine content or the histamine content. This article in our help center, Side-effects to Bone Broth? Possible Causes and What to Do About Them will give you more information on how to address these issues.
For further help on How to Get Rid of Bloating, have a look at this very informative article on the Kettle & Fire Blog, it's sure to help you.
Once you have worked out what may be causing the discomfort, we encouraged you to persist with the diet and your bone broth — the results are well worth it. Here is an article by Delfina explaining the benefits she experienced while on the Bone Broth Detox Diet.
Why Is Bone Broth Good for Gut Health?
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Let’s start by addressing why Gut Health is so important. The health of your gut and its microbiome plays an essential role in your health and wellbeing. Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and microbes. The microbiome helps control digestion, which affects your immune system and many other areas of your health. Modern studies are starting to point to the fact that good gut health can have the following benefits :
- Help to regulate blood sugar and lower the risk of diabetes
- May benefit heart health
- Positively affect brain health
- Healthy weight management
Many of our modern diseases appear to be rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms (good and bad bacteria) in our digestive system.
Bone broth is good for your gut health because it's rich in collagen. Collagen is high in glutamine and glycine. Both these two amino acids are great for restoring gut balance and sealing the gut wall. Here is an article from our blog, explaining this in more detail:
What Are Bone Broth's Health Benefits and Why Is It Good for Gut Health?
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Bone broth has many key health benefits. Studies have shown that it helps with:
- Skin health — thanks to high levels of collagen and glutamine.
- Gut health — thanks to glycine that helps heal and seal the lining of the gut.
- Joint health — thanks to amino acids like glucosamine.
- Reducing inflammation — thanks to its anti-inflammatory amino acids such as glycine.
These are the more well-known benefits of bone broth, however, bone broth is also a powerful tool for nutrient absorption, antioxidant protection, improving your sleep, and memory support.
Why is bone broth specifically good for gut health?
The answer lies in the amount of gelatin that it contains. The gelatin improves gut integrity and digestive strength. In addition to containing glutamine (an amino acid that works to repair any leaks in your intestinal tract), gelatin has a unique property of drawing stomach acid into the stomach due to its glycine content. (1) Stomach acid enables the breakdown and absorption of nutrients into the body. Even if your diet is healthy, you may not be assimilating all your food if your stomach acid is low. In addition, recent studies are also linking low stomach acid levels with bacteria overgrowth. (2)
If you are wanting to improve your gut health and your health in general, then bone broth is a must!
For more information, click on the image.
Side-Effects to Bone Broth? Possible Causes and What to Do About Them?
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Most people who drink bone broth daily, experience an improvement in their health in about four weeks. But for about one percent of people, drinking bone broth may make them feel worse. Is there something wrong with the bone broth? Read on to find out more.
People who feel worse from drinking bone broth may experience the following symptoms:
- 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 and are a signal that your body is overloaded with one or both of these substances. There is one culprit in particular that we believe causes your body to be overloaded with glutamic acid — MSG, and we will address it later in this article.
Experiencing side effects to bone broth doesn’t mean that it isn’t a healthy choice for you; it means that you may have to take a closer look at your health and food choices and gradually reduce the foods that are high in glutamic acid and histamines.
Below we break down these two issues; glutamic acid and histamines and individually recommend changes to overcome them.
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, there are some foods that 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
- Ripe tomatoes
- Grape juice (wine)
- Malted Barley (used to make beer)
- Wheat gluten
- Dairy casein (milk protein)
Enter Man-made MSG
Now, if you are astute, you will notice that all MSG is man-made and that is often the problem. The foods contained in the above list are natural, occur in nature and in most cases are healthy for you. Most people eating moderate amounts of these foods would not experience problems. But, in today’s world, this man-made chemical can tip the scales so to speak. Although research is mixed about the potential health effects of MSG, studies have found it to induce symptoms as common as headaches and as complex as hormone disruption.  It’s also important to note that many of the studies concluding that this chemical is safe are funded by the food manufacturing industry.
So, if a person’s diet contains high levels of MSG and, therefore, high levels of free glutamate in their body, it may be difficult for them to tolerate the natural forms of free glutamate found in healthy 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 flavoring, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein, or hydrolyzed pea protein. 
Here are a few tips to evaluate 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 above-mentioned ingredients. Take note of any symptoms that are aggravated after eating foods that contain MSG.
- Also, monitor your intake of foods that are naturally high in free glutamic acid. Take note of any symptoms that may be aggravated by eating these foods.
- Healthpedian.org 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.
Here is a great article that has more information on glutamic acid sensitivity: Beyond MSG: Could Hidden Sources of Glutamate Be Harming Your Health?
Now to deal with the second culprit or issue, 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 systems 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.
So, histamine is normally a good thing but you've heard the old 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, when our body isn’t functioning properly, histamines start to build up and all that inflammation causes symptoms like the ones listed above.
In the vast majority of people, histamine intolerance is due to leaky gut syndrome. (In rare cases, this inability to process histamines is due to genetics or medical conditions like Crohn’s disease.) 
Gut inflammation inhibits DAO from breaking down histamine and if the cell junctions in the intestinal walls are compromised, histamine can leak into the bloodstream triggering your immune system to go into overdrive. However, once the gut is healed, the histamine symptoms normally disappear.
Now, this may feel like a catch-22 because bone broth is one of the foods recommended to heal leaky gut AND it is a high histamine food.
By eliminating the other high histamine foods from your diet, you will reduce your overall histamine load and be able to tolerate small amounts of bone broth which will promote gut healing and 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 are high in histamine?
- How many have sat in the fridge for more than 24 hours?
- Educate yourself about leaky gut.
- Check out our healing leaky gut online course here.
- The Best and Worst Foods for Healing Leaky Gut (Infographic & PDF)
- Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
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 health 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 2 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 are 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, also has many healing 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 an abundance of healing nutrients.
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 we are confident you will experience relief plus the benefits of a healed gut. However, if you are still experiencing symptoms, we recommend consulting a nutritionist or other healthcare provider.
About the Author: Carrie Bonfitto is a board-certified holistic nutritionist, wellness educator and culinary instructor in the Los Angeles area. Through her private practice, Two Hearts Nutrition, she turns up the heat on healthy eating, transforming it into delicious and practical food therapy. Having spent years getting bounced from doctor to doctor before taking her health into her own hands, Carrie is dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic conditions regain their vitality.