Was all set to give my mom bone broth today.  I worked hard making this for her, cooked low and slow for over 24 hours (see how to make bone broth).  Very excited to get her started on it to see if it would help her auto immune condition and leaky gut.

And then I found THIS:

This certified nutrition consultant is all for bone broth, in fact she’s written a book extolling its virtues. However she says NEVER take it if you have an auto-immune disorder, leaky gut, or are prone to seizures.  Now what?!

This completely flies in the face of everything I’ve read over the last week, and all the research I’ve done which says bone broth is THE way to treat and heal leaky gut and auto-immune disorders.

The Dr Mercola site which specifically states bone broth is helpful for people with epilepsy, and of course, autoimmune conditions and leaky gut…  So we have a total contradiction among sources (keep reading to get the bottom line on the detective work I did to get to the bottom of this)….

Bone broth benefits

This is so frustrating. I so want to help my mom and get her feeling better. There is no time to waste. This complete contradiction is now a huge road block. I was about to start feeding her bone broth this afternoon – it just came out of the slow cooker late last night.

Its very frustrating, but I guess its really no different than the contrary theories  and opinions that exist in mainstream medicine as well. For the same condition, one doctor or medical expert will say “Do this”, then another will say, “Absolutely not, NEVER do that. ”  All we can do in the end is use our best judgement and hope for the best.


Minutes after writing the above, I came across more information from Dr Jockers:

When Not To Use Bone Broth

“Bone broth is tolerated well by most individuals, however, certain individuals that have a histamine or glutamate intolerance may struggle with bone broth.  In both cases, one of the common complaints is that the individual has a headache after they consume something with either histamines or free glutamates.  If you notice you are consistently having a headache and/or other possible symptoms such as fatigue, disorientation, skin rash and joint pain when you consume bone broth, you may have one of these problems.Individuals with a histamine intolerance often will have a tendency to experience hives or skin lesions associated with higher histamine foods.  Individuals with glutamate intolerances will often experience pain and neurological symptoms (such as disorientation, poor coordination, neuralgia or muscle pain along with headaches).  Here is a helpful article on histamine intolerance and in the future we will have an article on glutamate intolerances.” – Dr.Jockers.com

Dr.Jockers seems to echo what is said in the information from the Healthy Home Economist.

Then I went on to read this on the blog MovingStronglyForward – not a medical practioner but rather someone who has done a lot of her own research to help heal her own medical issues:

Glutamic Acid, or Glutamate, is the amino acid with the fourth highest concentration in bone broth. You can read about the first three amino acids here: Amino Acids in Bone Broth and How They Help You and Broth – Hydroxyproline: Critical for Healthy Skin, Bones, Teeth, Joints and More.

My Internet search has led me to the consensus that Glutamic Acid is one of the few nutrients that crosses the blood/brain barrier and is a major player in brain/neural function. It is an excitatory amino acid, causing an increase in neural activity. The National Institute of Health is conducting a study of the role of Glutamic Acid in reducing nerve damage in certain cancer patients who are being treated: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00369564. My search also shows that Glutamic Acid is used to treat patients suffering from depression, ADD, ADHD, fatigue and chronic fatigue, alcoholism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, mental retardation, and schizophrenia. Glutamic Acid does appear to be helpful in maintaining heart health and prostate health. That said, for sufferers of stroke, the brain has too much Glutamic Acid, causing nerve cells to die from overstimulation, so doctors medically suppress it.

I do not recommend that people supplement their diets with Glutamic Acid – that is a completely personal decision after you conduct your own research. I do know that there is plenty of it in the foods we eat: meat, eggs, poultry and fish. And bone broth of course. It really is all about the food. People who eat nutrient dense, traditionally prepared foods experience robust health unfettered by the many medical problems suffered by those who follow the Standard American Diet (SAD).

I do know that ADD, fatigue, and chronic fatigue can all be cured by a diet which heals the gut. My family has done it, and bone broth has been a key part of our recovery. My reading has convinced me that depression, ADHD and other autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, bi-polar disease and others can also be cured by healing the gut, as discussed in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Dr. McBride’s work was the basis for our great health recovery. You can learn more at www.gapsdiet.com.

Finally, Glutamic Acid is the foundation for monosodium glutamate, or MSG. As many people know, MSG is an illness and disease causing, human created thing stuck in “food” so that “food producers” do not have to spend more money making real food. People especially sensitive to MSG can suffer seizures, respiratory failure, brain lesions and many, many more problems.

In response to that post, one person left the following comment: “I‘ve noticed that every time I consume broth (even just a cup), it triggers a “trance” feeling, as well as a very mild headache. I suspect that I’m sensitive to the free glutamic acid in the broth, which must be excitotoxic for me (like MSG, aspartame etc.). This reconciles with many forum posts that I’ve read on broth glutamate-induced excitotoxicity for those sensitive to glutamate.

There are definitely people who report not feeling well, or having migraines after consuming bone both – I ‘ve read some of their comments, so that’s for real.  Heather Dane, “health consultant”,  addresses that as well:

If you don’t feel well after having bone broth, or you have a chronic health condition, like epilepsy, seizures or mood challenges (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so forth), you may want to start with meat stock first. These guidelines are based on the teachings of Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D., author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D.,Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.

Meat stock is exactly like bone broth, with these exceptions:
  • Simmer time. You simmer meat stock for only 1.5 to 3 hours maximum (bone broth is simmered longer, often for 24 to 48 hours or more).
  • Ingredients. You might use a little more meat and fewer bones (optional).
  • Concentration of glutamine. Meat stock is less concentrated and has fewer amino acids than bone broth, including glutamine. This is important if you have a leaky blood-brain barrier. In situations where there is a leaky blood-brain barrier, glutamates may create a problem in the body because there isn’t enough GABA, the calming neurotransmitter in the body (you can think of GABA as nature’s Valium).

We recommend using meat stock until your symptoms subside, then trying bone broth and seeing how you feel. This can take a minimum of 30 to 90 days on meat stock; however, all health situations are different and you may need more time before moving to bone broth. It can be helpful to work with a health practitioner to guide you.

Chris Kresser also writes about glutamine sensitivity here.

Having carefully evaluated all if the information on bone broth, I’ve concluded that, while bone broth is very safe  and highly beneficial for healthy individuals, consuming bone broth is potentially risky for anyone prone to seizures or who has a sensitivity to MSG. It may also be risky for people with leaky gut, despite the fact that it is so commonly recommended for treating that very condition.  But its not all bad news. There is an alternative – people with these health issues can still get pretty much all of the same health benefits and healing effects as bone broth offers – without the risks – by consuming meat broth instead.

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