When to Drink Bone Broth for Gut Health?

Making and consuming bone broth has been around for thousands of years, widespread among the ancient civilizations that recognized its healing powers. The practice experienced a lull at one point in history but is seeing a resurgence based on its benefits for one’s digestive system, among other things.

When to drink bone broth depends on your preference and whether you are consuming it as part of a fast. On a regular diet, many sources agree that drinking bone broth in the morning, before having any other meal, is the best time to boost your digestive system.

Nevertheless, even if you drink bone broth in the afternoon or evening, you will still reap the benefits. It all depends on the state of your gut health and what works best with your daily routine.

Is There a Best Time?

Drinking bone broth in the morning is the best way to kickstart your gut for a day of consumption.

Homemade bone broth contains at least 90% gelatin, which has two functions that support drinking bone broth in the morning for a healthier gut:

  • It satisfies hunger.
  • It helps you better digest the food you eat during the day.

Drinking protein-rich bone broth in the morning means fewer hunger pangs during the day, which can result in less frequent eating. The break you give yourself from eating gives your digestive system time to recover.

You will also be able to digest the food better that you’re consuming during the day. You can thus go about your routine feeling regular, less bloated, and devoid of any painful stomach cramps and feelings of discomfort.

An added benefit is that a healthy gut can also improve your mood, making it the ideal way to start your day.

Benefits Of Bone Broth for Your Gut (Why Does it Help)

When referring specifically to your gut health, the following benefits deserve mention based on the gelatin present in bone broth and, as a result, other amino acids that come from it:

  • Gelatin promotes feelings of satiety
  • Glutamine improves digestion
  • Glycine plays a role in the breaking down of fats
  • Proline strengthens the gut lining and fights inflammation

Gelatin Curbs Hunger

Bone broth contains gelatin (i.e., cooked collagen), a protein that reduces appetite. In turn, you are less likely to snack as much and give your digestive system a much-needed rest to perform at its best.

Glutamine Keeps Your Digestive System Healthy

The gelatin in bone broth contains glutamic acid, which can form glutamine. Glutamine is a fuel source for the cells in your gut and has several functions, one of which is to help repair the mucosal lining in your stomach.

This gastric mucosa or stomach lining protects your gut by creating an almost gel-like layer that keeps acid and digestive enzymes from penetrating the wall. Instead, the enzymes stay within your stomach to do what it is supposed to: properly break down all the food to promote ease of movement through your digestive tract.

Another function of glutamine is binding water in your digestive tract, making it easier for food to pass through. It thus relieves and prevents issues like “leaking gut” and constipation linked to IBS.

Glycine Plays A Role In Digesting Fats

Besides being an excellent antioxidant, the glycine in bone broth can merge with the bile acid in your liver to make bile salts, which get stored in the gallbladder. When you eat fatty food, your body sends a message to the gallbladder to release the bile. The bile helps break down the fats entering your intestine into smaller, more absorbable particles.

This fat absorption into the cells is essential if you eat the ‘right’ anti-inflammatory fats (e.g., flaxseeds, oily fish, walnuts, etc.). Your gut cells need these fats to build new connective tissue that ensures no toxins or food leaks through your gut. It thus helps your body prevent and fight off inflammation in your stomach, which happens when food makes its way outside your digestive system into your bloodstream.  

Proline Helps Maintain A Healthy Gut

In conjunction with glutamine and glycine, proline helps repair and rebuild damaged intestinal cells and reduce inflammation. It, therefore, maintains your gut lining’s integrity to enhance digestive processes, prevent issues like “leaky gut,” and fight off Crohn’s disease.

Importance Of A Healthy Gut

Your gut’s microbiome – a community of microorganisms that live together – can impact your health and daily life in more ways than you might think. From your emotions to brain functioning. The microbiome is like a massive factory with trillions of employees (microorganisms) that work every day to keep your body functioning at its optimum by

  • regulating your immune system
  • helping you digest foods and liquids
  • maintaining proper brain functions
  • protecting your body against harmful pathogens
  • producing essential vitamins and nutrients
  • helping with drug metabolism

All the above functions, in turn, help to prevent or heal gut-related health issues that can range from slight discomfort to more severe diseases.

What Does An Unhealthy Gut Look Like?

Unfortunately, things in your gut ‘factory’ don’t always run smoothly, especially if you neglect your gut’s microbiome. For example, if you don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, your digestive system will suffer. As a result, you might experience symptoms that include

  • long-lasting stomachache
  • bloating
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • weight fluctuations
  • irritability
  • fatigue or insomnia
  • sugar cravings

Some more serious digestive disorders and diseases related to your gut health include a “leaky gut,” irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and Ulcerative Colitis. These conditions do not always result from an unhealthy gut. Still, they might be pre-existing, causing you to experience the symptoms. Therefore, you must seek medical advice if you suffer discomfort for a prolonged period.

How To Maintain A Healthy Gut

It is vital to adopt good habits if you want to try and avoid an unhealthy gut:

  • Consume more fiber (e.g., fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc.).
  • Ditch a restrictive diet since you might limit the fuel your gut microorganisms need.
  • Don’t solely rely on probiotic supplements – it is not enough!
  • Eat prebiotic-rich food, like garlic, onions, bananas, leeks, and beans.
  • If possible, avoid taking antibiotics.
  • Drink lots of water every day.
  • Follow a low FODMAP diet to ease symptoms of IBS.

Which Bone Broth Is Best For Your Gut?

Beef bones are the best option to use when making bone broth.

The bones of cattle are much denser than, for example, chicken, turkey, or fish bones. As a result, these bones contain much more collagen (called gelatin when cooked). In turn, more collagen means more beneficial amino acids, like glycine, which helps to fight inflammation in your gut, as discussed earlier in this article.

Beef bones also have a higher concentration of minerals that help increase your energy and provide extra nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

How Much Bone Broth Should You Drink?

How much bone broth you consume comes down to preference.

Let’s start with the most extreme scenario: a bone broth fast. You should consume roughly five cups of bone broth daily to give your gut an overhaul if you partake in a 3-day fast, for example.

Some people prefer to make it part of their lifestyle, drinking at least one cup of bone broth a day to get the most health benefit over the long run.

However, making your bone broth from scratch can be very time-consuming as the bones need to simmer in water and vinegar for 24-48 hours. For this reason, many people only drink one cup of bone broth a week, which is perfectly acceptable.

Where to Get Bone Broth

Nowadays, you can buy powder or frozen bone broth and even order it at selective restaurants.

As convenient as these options are, homemade bone broth is still the best option if you have the time. This way, you will know what is in your bone broth, and rest assured that it contains the maximum goodness that benefits your gut and the rest of your body.


Making and consuming bone broth has gained traction in recent years because of its many health benefits. For optimal gut health, many recommend that you drink beef bone broth. It is also best to do so in the morning to kickstart your digestive system for the day ahead.

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers is currently a Resident in the Internal Medicine program at UTMB. He studied at the University of Queensland School of Medicine as well as received his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Southern California. His background is in biology, computer science, public health, and internal medicine.

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