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Animal bone marrow is contained and harvested from the long bones of animals such as cows, lambs, and moose. Popularly used as human food, bone marrow is usually yellow or red in color and its texture is buttery and creamy as a result of its high-fat content. When prepared well, bone marrow is savory yet slightly sweet. Speaking of preparing it, bones are most commonly roasted and served with a special spoon for scooping out the marrow. Often served alongside a steak, bone marrow is a lovely accompaniment to your next cut of meat. Another popular way to use bone marrow is in soups and stews where it’s often reduced to a broth; it adds a rich texture and flavor to these dishes. Best of all, bone marrow is rich in vital nutrients which is another reason you may consider adding it to your diet besides its delightful taste. Take a look at the many health benefits bone marrow has to offer.
Important Note: All of the assertions made herein represent the most current scientific research at the time of this publication.
One of the best reasons to include bone marrow in your diet is that it’s highly nutritious. Despite high calorie and fat content, bone marrow is a nutrient-dense food packed with vitamins and minerals. For starters, just one tablespoon of bone marrow contains high concentrations of protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and iron. Moreover, bone marrow is rife with the B vitamins pantothenic acid, thiamin, and biotin, all of which contribute to energy production. Additionally, bone marrow is rich in collagen which contributes to skin and joint health as well as conjugated linoleic acid that reduces inflammation as well as improves immunity. Other important nutrients found in bone marrow’s makeup include phosphorus as well as vitamins E and A.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Bone marrow is highly nutritious, and comprises many vitamins and minerals essential to your overall health.
Good for Joints
Significantly, bone marrow contains nutrients essential to maintaining optimal joint health. For starters, bone marrow is rich in glucosamine, a compound found in animal cartilage; in fact, glucosamine is commonly used as a homeopathic remedy for joint pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. Furthermore, bone marrow’s collagen content is supportive of joint health and functionality. In a compelling study of athletes consuming daily doses of collagen, scientists found that joint functionality improved with a collagen supplement. As such, incorporating bone marrow into your diet may help with joint health.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Bone marrow contains glucosamine and collagen both of which are linked to joint health, however, more research about bone marrow’s role in this function is needed.
Another important benefit of eating bone marrow is that it’s known to reduce chronic inflammation that may otherwise lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancer types. A handful of studies have revealed that glycine, a protein contained in bone marrow, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, the aforementioned conjugated linoleic acid has been shown to produce an anti-inflammatory response as well. One study on the effects of this compound showed that it significantly reduced several inflammatory markers. Lastly, bone marrow is rich in adiponectin, a hormone that fuels both anti-inflammatory and immune responses. Again, each of these nutrients contributing to your body’s anti-inflammatory response reduces your risk for some chronic illnesses.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Bone marrow is rich in glycine, conjugated linoleic acid, and adiponectin, each of which helps to reduce otherwise harmful chronic inflammation.
Enhances Skin Health
A surprising benefit of consuming bone marrow is that it has beneficial implications for skin health. As previously noted, bone marrow is fraught with collagen, a protein that plays an essential role in skin health and production. Not only do studies prove that collagen improves skin elasticity (a function associated with anti-aging) and hydration, but it also improves the antioxidative activity in the skin which is linked to a reduction in skin damage. Notably, one serving of bone marrow typically contains between 7 and 10 grams of collagen which is about half the recommended serving for optimal skin health. As a result, incorporating bone marrow into your diet is a tasty way to contribute to your daily collagen needs and skin care goals.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. Unfortunately, although bone marrow is a good source of collagen, much of the research about collagen and skin health deals with supplements and not bone marrow as a source; more research is needed.
Lowers Risk of Obesity-Related Diseases
Although there aren’t many studies on this topic, there’s some evidence to suggest that regular bone marrow consumption may lower your risk for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For starters, the hormone adiponectin helps to break down fat while also inhibiting insulin sensitivity; both of these functions are essential in the prevention of type-2 diabetes. Research has shown that individuals with obesity have lower levels of adiponectin but by adding bone marrow to their diet, those levels are elevated thereby reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity-related cancer types.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While several scientific studies link the hormone adiponectin to a reduced risk for obesity-related diseases, more human studies are indicated.
Another notable benefit of including bone marrow in your diet is that it can help to enhance your immune system. Specifically, bone marrow is rich in stem cells that help to produce both red and white blood cells, both of which are essential to immune health. Furthermore, the blood cells produced by animal bone marrow have antioxidative properties that fend off harmful oxidation of free radicals which could lead to illness. Another contributor to immunity is that bone marrow is rich in vitamin B; the B vitamins combat lethargy as well as other flu symptoms. Finally, bone marrow is an excellent source of alkylglycerols which are essential to the kind of tissue production associated with enhanced immunity.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Together, the stem cells, vitamin B, and alkylglycerols contained in bone marrow help to give your immune system a boost.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
Helps Gut Health and Digestion
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Bone marrow contains trace nutrients that are essential to digestive and gut health, however, more than a single daily serving of bone marrow is needed to yield this benefit.
Supports Brain Health
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why.
Although a few promising studies suggest that bone marrow may play a role in improved brain health, more research is needed to confidently claim this as a health benefit.