I may be a pescatarian, but I had to look into bone broth benefits when my patients kept asking me whether or not bone broth was good for the skin.
I get it, when you’re sick, nothing sounds better than a piping hot bowl of chicken (or vegetable) noodle soup. What if I told you, however, that a bowl of bone broth, or chicken noodle soup, can actually be good for you even when you’re not sick?
What is bone broth?
To make chicken noodle soup from scratch, you have to start by making a bone broth. A bone broth is just made from boiling the bones and connective tissues of an animal with a variety of herbs and spices for several hours. Aside from just tasting good, drinking bone broth actually can come with a surprising number of health benefits. Bone broth is rich in a variety of good-for-you ingredients that are released during the boiling process, like an assortment of amino acids and minerals. These extra amino acids can do great things for the body, which is why bone broth is heralded for its benefits to the gut and joints. Not only that, but these amino acids benefit the skin as well through building important structural proteins like collagen.
How is it helpful?
Collagen serves as one of the most important building blocks for supple and healthy-looking skin because it makes up about one third of total protein in our body and around 75% of the protein in our skin. As we get older, a combination of aging and external damage from the sun leads to a significant decrease in collagen. This decrease in collagen is part of what causes crow’s feet or wrinkles around the eyes and lines that develop as we age. To combat this, you have two options.
The first and most effective option to prevent collagen loss is through reducing further damage from the sun by following a comprehensive sun protection program - hat, shirt, shade and a broad spectrum UVA, UVB sunscreen. However, there is some evidence in the laboratory about the benefits of bone broth to help address collagen loss as well.
The second, drink bone broth!
How Bone Broth Can Help Your Skin
Some studies have shown promising results from drinking collagen supplements as it can lead to higher levels of moisture and elasticity in the skin compared to a placebo. However, all-in-all, the research is not surprisingly somewhat limited. One study in Korea found that using horse bone broth significantly decreased the activity of both collegenase and elastase in cells. These two enzymes are responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin. It's important to note, however, that this study was done in a lab on a petri dish, and more research must be done before the true skin benefits of drinking bone broth can be known.
While drinking bone broth isn't going to do as much as wearing SPF or really 'erase' wrinkles, it is possible that regularly drinking bone broth can be good for the skin by boosting levels of healthy skin proteins.
Maybe it is possible that mom's chicken noodle soup recipe can solve all of your problems after all.