Since the pandemic began, a lot of us have been wondering about how well we’d hold up if our immune system became compromised by COVID-19. The benefits of making bone broth for the immune system start in the gut. While there is no surefire natural remedy or prevention technique for the novel coronavirus, there is value in keeping our digestive system strong. Why? The gut is a gateway to the immune system, specifically through the microbiome. Bone broth made with several key ingredients such as turmeric, garlic and mushrooms, can strengthen the gut and immune system, as my story and the
science reveal.

My Gut Health Story

We’ve all been through times when we know our guts aren’t digesting food properly. For me it was a few years ago. I was hungry all the time and not to go into graphic detail, but things didn’t look as they should in the bathroom. Catch my drift?

Let me add that I was eating very healthy food, mostly vegetarian, some lean protein, very few carbs, lots of water and very little gluten.

I went to visit my Functional Medicine Doctor Dr. Jeff Horachek in Hood River, and it turns out I had bacteria in my gut that shouldn’t be there. This bad bacteria was the likely culprit behind my increased hunger and digestive issues. He put me on an elimination diet and gave me supplements to take, then asked me to come back in 6 weeks for another test. Well, the next time I took the test, that bacteria was gone but a new bacteria showed up. OMG, I’ve never paid so much attention to my poop EVER. So back on different supplements.

What I found interesting is that when I finished the second round of supplements, I’d still have good digestive days and not so good digestive days. So Dr. Jeff suggested that I add bone broth to my diet. I had no idea that bone broth was good for “gut healing.”

So I started making and drinking bone broth daily. I actually started making my broth with Bison marrow bones with yummy vegetables, including mushrooms, turmeric, and garlic. Miraculously things started changing. Within the first two weeks everything started coming out normal. Then as time went on, my skin improved dramatically, losing weight became easier, my hair had become shiny and my nails were stronger. The biggest thing was that my energy was through the roof.

Fast forward three months. My gut issues were completely gone and I had just come back from a two- week vacation in Europe. I drank no broth and had absolutely no problem. I ate wonderful Irish bread, ate some really delicious food; had drinks…the whole bit. I had absolutely no problem. I still ate healthy as much as possible and drank lots and lots of water. But I had no problems with digestion at all and never felt better. Undoubtedly my immune system was much improved, as well.

Further along in my bone broth journey, I continued to encounter people with health conditions who were experiencing the benefits of bone broth for themselves. When I began to research local bone broth in the Columbia Gorge area where I live, I found there was none. Hence, the birth of Simply Fine Gourmet and Beth’s Bountiful Bone Broth. During the coronavirus I realized that I could help more people nationwide by making my recipe ingredients accessible to anyone that can find me online. The DIY bone broth kit has all the medicinal spices and quality veggies for anyone seeking to easily make their own bone broth at home using an instant pot or pressure cooker.

Healthy Gut, Healthy Immune System

“Getting your gut bacteria healthy is one of the most important things you can do to get and stay healthy. If your bacteria are sick, so are you!” – Dr. Mark Hyman

Chances are, if the bacteria in your gut are out of whack, your digestive system will be a wreck, and subsequently, your immune system won’t do its job as well. Your microbiome, also known as your gut flora, is essential for breaking down proteins, vitamins, minerals, and all the other nutrients your body needs. It is a complex subject that scientists at John Hopkins School of Medicine are still exploring to figure out how the body’s immune system interacts with the microbiome.

What we know about bone broth is that it is full of key amino acids, collagen, and gelatin: all essential nutrients that your gut needs to function properly. And that’s important because seventy percent of your immune system cells reside in your gut. Also, we know that when beneficial bacteria are flourishing, your intestinal barrier functions more effectively, allowing healthy molecules into the body while preventing bad ones from entering. The barrier in your gut is made of intestinal epithelial cells which form form “tight junctions.”

Good bacteria in our gut positively impact the permeability of your intestinal barrier, helping with nutrient absorption and keeping pathogens out.

While bone broth can support gut flora, it does an even better job when combined with turmeric, mushrooms, and garlic, all of which I include in my Veggie Bone Broth Spice Kit. Here's why they transform bone broth into a gut health supercharger:

Turmeric

Turmeric is the flavorful spice common in Indian food. It is shown to reduce inflammation and when it comes to the gut, the chemical compound known as curcumin found in the spice helps beneficial bacteria strains grow, such as Bifidobacterial and Lactobacilli, while reducing pathogenic strains.

Mushrooms

The prebiotics in mushrooms stimulate the growth of gut microbiota. In particular it is the non- digestible polysaccharides in mushrooms which inhibit pathogen proliferation by enhancing the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut.

Garlic

Garlic is also a prebiotic that feeds your gut’s beneficial bacteria while also having anti-bacterial effects. It can fight yeast, fungus and candida overgrowth in the gut. Not only is there garlic in the broth, but there is black garlic which has significantly higher antioxidant properties than fresh garlic.

When your gut bacteria is flourishing it is more apt to take advantage of the gelatinous collagen found in bone broth, along with the abundance of rich nutrients which ultimately help seal your gut from absorbing toxins. Specifically, the amino acids proline, glutamine, and arginine found in bone broth not only strength of the gut lining, but have the additional benefits of building and maintaining the strength of hair, skin, and nails.

Glutamine

The most notable amino acid for enhancing the gut lining found in bone broth is glutamine. Glutamine can also boost immune cell activity in the gut, helping prevent infection and inflammation, while soothing the intestinal tissue.

I hope you can experience the benefits of bone broth for yourself because good gut health is crucial during this pandemic. As you can imagine, it is wise to do everything we can for our health during these times and the impact of the microbiome on the quality of digestion should not be overlooked. Feed your gut the good stuff!

Be well …

Beth Kandell

Beth Kandell is the owner and chef at Simply Fine Gourmet. Find her delicious high- quality, grass-fed beef bone broth and organic chicken bone broth at The Farm Stand in Hood River, Oregon, both Chucks Produce in Vancouver, WA and Wintzer Acupuncture in Camas, Washington — or order online today.