Bone Broth And SIBO: Benefits, Cautions, and Solutions

Bone Broth And SIBO: Benefits, Cautions, and Solutions

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Bone broth has been growing in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It is a quick way to get a variety of nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and vitamins A and K. Bone broth also contains collagen, which provides essential amino acids and supports connective tissue, muscles, bones, and skin. This makes bone broth a wonderful way to combat joint pain as well as to improve the elasticity and circulation of the skin. Other benefits of bone broth include immune health, improved cognition, detoxification support, and stronger metabolism.

Bone broth is perhaps most known for improving digestion, lowering inflammation, and healing the gut, making it great for those with leaky gut or inflammatory bowel disease. It can also be great for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) if used correctly. We will discuss why those with IBS or SIBO have to be cautious when buying bone broth. We’ll also introduce the high-quality bone broth made and sold by Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth.

It is important to note here that the term, “broth,” technically refers to preparations made by simmering meat (without bones). This results in a thinner liquid. The term, “stock,” describes a preparation made with bones, and is generally a thick liquid. Thus, the popular term, “bone broth,” doesn’t actually exist since broth is not made with bones. The correct term would be “stock.” But, to avoid confusion, this blog keeps in line with the popular term, “bone broth” to describe stock.

How Bone Broth Is Made

Bone broth can be made a couple of different ways, but both rely on the process of boiling bones (and sometimes meat) in water for several hours. Spices and vegetables are usually added for flavor, and vinegar is used to pull healthful minerals from the bones and into the broth.

The differences in bone broths stem from the type of bones used. Most conventional broths are made using bones that have cartilage attached. Cartilage is the connective tissue that protects joints and is found between bones, including our vertebrae. When the cartilage is boiled in water to make broth, the polysaccharides that make up the cartilage are released into the water. Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that is made up of many smaller monosaccharides and contain simple sugars, like glucose.

Those with IBS or SIBO usually have trouble processing certain carbohydrates, namely the foods that contain high amounts of FODMAPs. For this reason, they often do well to follow a low FODMAP diet for a time, until their gut flora is balanced and their intestinal lining is healed. The term, FODMAP, is actually an acronym for the long-winded names of various carbohydrates that should be limited on a low FODMAP diet.

The “M” in FODMAP stands for monosaccharide. Recall that this is the same type of carb that is contained in cartilage and released into the bone broth. Therefore, bone broth made from bones with cartilage is a high FODMAP food. Furthermore, conventional bone broths (or any broths) often contain high FODMAP vegetables such as onions or garlic. Even though they’re removed from the broth, the fructans (a type of oligosaccharide, the “O” in FODMAP) have already leached into the liquid, making it a high FODMAP broth. Therefore, those with SIBO or IBS would do well to avoid conventionally made bone broths as they usually contain two types of FODMAP carbohydrates (the “M” and the “O”), which cause symptoms.

Is There A Low FODMAP Bone Broth?

The good news is that people on a low FODMAP diet can still enjoy the nutrients, collagen, and gut healing benefits of bone broth!

This brings us to the second way that bone broth is made: using marrow bones without the connected cartilage. Marrow bones do not leach polysaccharides into the water, making marrow-based broths a low FODMAP food. This means it’s gentle on the gut for those with SIBO or IBS. Unfortunately, bone broth found on store shelves often do not define whether or not cartilage was used. Even organic bone broths that use bones from grass-feed beef is no guarantee that they avoid cartilage unless specifically stated. Even if cartilage was not used, the next concern would be the onions or garlic that is usually a staple ingredient in any broth.

So where do you find marrow-based bone broth?

Healthy Connections, a functional medicine clinic in Hood River, recommends the bone broth sold by Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth. Their beef bone broths are made without cartilage, using marrow bones instead. This makes it a healthful gut-healing drink that’s safe for those with SIBO or IBS. Beth Kandell, the owner and founder of Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth lives locally in the Columbia Gorge with her family. Her marrow bones come from grass-fed and grass-finished beef sourced from Wallowa, Oregon.

You can purchase her bone broth through her online store as well as in local health food stores, including in Vancouver and Portland! To boost the benefits of her broth, Beth adds antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting foods such as garlic, maitake mushrooms, and turmeric. For added flavor, her bone broths contain various vegetables including celery, carrots, and onions. Beth also sells pre-mixed spice kits full of dehydrated vegetables so you can make your own bone broth if you have access to the right bones. Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth offers made-to-order broths that remove the onions and garlic. Their spice kits can also be special ordered without these high FODMAP vegetables.

To avoid the cartilage, be sure to order the beef bone broth rather than the chicken bone broth (more on this below). Alternatively, a beef broth made without bones would also be FODMAP-friendly (use meat instead).

A Note About Chicken Bone Broth

Chicken bone broth is nutritious in its own right, but should be avoided for those with SIBO or IBS. This is because chicken bones contain a lot more cartilage than beef bones. Plus, chicken bone broth requires the use of the entire chicken carcass since it’s much smaller, so there isn’t a way to be choosy on the types of bones to use. The last concern about chicken bone broth is that many brands use chicken feet as well. Chicken feet are full of cartilage and ligaments to make the feet flexible and support the tiny bones. This can make the broth a SIBO nightmare.

The one exception for chicken bone broth is if you avoid bones altogether (it would just be chicken broth at that point!). Using two pounds of boneless chicken breast and thigh meat, combine with two quarts of water along with various herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage. Simmer for 1.5 hours then remove meat and strain out the spices. This retains the nutritious broth that won’t cause symptoms for those with SIBO or IBS. This same process also applies when making beef broth without bones. Be sure to cook the beef before simmering, and simmer for longer (3-4 hours) using more water.

A customized version of Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth Veggie Spice Kit is perfect to make SIBO friendly chicken or beef broth without the bones. The carrots, celery, mushroom, turmeric and spices will make the broth delicious.

Bone broth has amazing health benefits and is packed with easily digested nutrients. The nutrients, antioxidants, collagen, and amino acids in bone broth help with joint pain, lowered immunity, detox, skin and hair health, inflammation, cognition, bone density, and gut healing. It is recommended as a daily part of your health routine. Those who follow a low FODMAP diet due to SIBO or IBS may have a hard time handling conventional bone broth due to the cartilage and high FODMAP vegetables used to make the broth. However, there are ways to enjoy the benefits of broth without triggering symptoms. Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth is a locally-owned, family-run business in the Columbia Gorge that offers high-quality bone broths that can be made-to-order for your low FODMAP needs. Check them out today!

Healthy Connections provided this blog piece to highlight the unique benefits of Simply Fine Gourmet’s bone broth products. Our team not only recommends their bone broths but we also enjoy drinking it! We are a functional medicine clinic in Hood River, Oregon. Among our many specialties is working with patients who struggle with SIBO and IBS. We use a systematic approach for balancing and healing the gut that goes beyond a low FODMAP diet. If you find yourself frustrated with ongoing gut issues or food reactions, schedule a free Discovery Call with us and get on the path towards healing!

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