WHAT MAKES A NUTRIENT DENSE BONE BROTH?
It is well-known that Bone broth is a rich source of collagen, chondroitin and easily digestible forms of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium (1). But much less known is that bone broths have varying concentrations of nutrients, which are attributed to three main different factors: what bone is used, the diet and the slaughter age of the cattle.
In cows, the long bones (bones of the legs) contain the highest amounts of proteins. For this reason, most commercially made bone broth powder is made with long bones. But are all bone broth equally nutritious? Research shows broth from tibia (the middle segment of the hindlimb) contains a significantly higher ratio of collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin and essential minerals (2). However, there is a drawback - tibia bone gives a significantly lower protein yield %; this means that to extract the same amount of protein, more bone is needed when using tibia than other long bones, making tibia a more costly raw material. Folona SoLo Bone Broth only uses tibia to create nutrient-dense bone broth powder.
SLAUGHTER AGE AND DIET
The most common slaughter age in the cattle farming industry is between 12-16 months. This practice optimizes farm profits thanks to reduced feed, bedding and labor costs associated with each animal. It also increases the turnover of cattle on beef units, helping farmers increase production and potentially add significant sums to their bottom lines(3).
Unfortunately, the maximization of profits also means a reduction in the nutritional value of beef bones. Research shows that the bones of older cattle between the age of 4 and 7 years are highest in collagen, proteoglycans and minerals (4). The bone we use for our SoLo Bone Broth is from suckler cows that have reached at least 4 years old, they are exclusively grass fed on open pasture in Sweden, never fed any grains, steroids, antibiotics, or hormones. Why Sweden, you may ask? True grass-fed and pasture-raised farming is expensive. Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe, in terms of area. About half the area is covered by forest. Mountains, marshes and lakes together cover approximately one third. In spite of its northerly location, Sweden enjoys a favorable climate for pasture-raised farming.
Folona contracts with family-owned farms in Sweden to source the raw material for our bone broth. We choose our farmers as carefully as we choose our raw materials because we know that high quality bone broth comes from high quality bone, and high quality bone comes from healthy cows. Good farmers who genuinely care for their cattle put a lot of time and effort into ensuring their animals are healthy, well fed and well cared for.
There are many bone broths out there, but few come from the fruit of research and science. When selecting bone broth for your health, make sure you know the cows and those who take care of them, because good bone broth comes from healthy cows.
(1) Seol M. Y., et al. 1990. A study on mineral contents in sagol bone stock. Korean J. Food Cookery Sci. 1990;6:21–26.
(2) Ferraro et al. 2017. Collagen type I from bovine bone. Effect of animal age, bone anatomy and drying methodology on extraction yield, self-assembly, thermal behaviour and electrokinetic potential.Int J Biol Macromol. 97:55-66h.
(3) Moran, A.T., et al. 2016. Optimal slaughter age of UK beef cattle to increase profitability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Book of abstracts of the Annual Conference of British Society of Animal Science (BSAS), Chester, UK.
(4) Aubry et al. 2020. Redox Potential and Antioxidant Capacity of Bovine Bone Collagen Peptides towards Stable Free Radicals, and Bovine Meat Lipids and Proteins. Effect of Animal Age, Bone Anatomy and Proteases - A Step Forward towards Collagen-Rich Tissue Valorisation. Molecules. 19;25(22):5422