May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as someone who lives with anxiety, I know just how debilitating it can be. I also know just how powerful and freeing it is to finally feel in control of my mental health, and that's why I want to share more about this issue - and how bone broth may help!
Let's start by defining some terms.
What is anxiety?
Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and/or fear about everyday situations. You might have a rapid heart rate or rapid breathing, may start sweating, and may feel fatigued. You might be thinking - "ok this is me every time my boss emails or my mom calls or I have that third cup of coffee." And, yes that's totally possible!
Anxiety only becomes a disorder when it interferes with everyday living (difficulty completing tasks, fear of driving, fear of leaving the house, etc).
"Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment."
More and more people, including myself, are turning to lifestyle changes and strategic supplements to manage their anxiety! Lifestyle changes, like eliminating caffeine and food allergies, practicing meditation, increasing movement throughout the day, and speaking with a therapist are all excellent ways to manage anxiety.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, one very exciting development in the past decade has been our increased knowledge of the gut-brain connection! Increasingly (and some now say indisputably), research shows that the gut-brain connection is incredibly important not just to physical wellness, but mental wellness as well.
Bone broth has personally helped my anxiety in part because it's a rich, easy, and delicious source of collagen, which helps improve my gut health!
Ok, I've heard a lot about collagen, but why is it a big deal for mental health?
Collagen makes up 30% of the total protein in the body, and 70% of the protein in the skin. It strengthens the body’s connective tissues, which is why bone broth is recommended as an anti-cellulite solution. Our joints, tendons, ligaments, skin, mucus membranes and bones all need collagen.
Gelatin is the cooked form of animal collagen.
Great. How does collagen help repair the gut?
Gelatin is predominantly made up of the amino acids glycine and proline. Both of these ‘non-essential’ amino acids have been linked to improved health. Here are four ways these two amino acids can help in managing anxiety.
- According to FOND Practitioner and wellness wonder-woman, Ali Miller RD, LD CDE, glycine aids digestion by enhancing hydrochloric acid production in the stomach. It acts to improve vitamin and mineral absorption and sooth the digestive tract. So drink AND cook with your bone broth!
- Harvard Medical School says that the gut-brain connection is virtually undisputed. Taking care of your gut health can reduce (if not eliminate) anxiety, depression, mood swings and more!
- Proline helps the body break down proteins and improve skin elasticity and smoothness.
- Glycine slows down the production of norepinephrine, which induces feelings of anxiety. This can either decrease specific instances of anxiety, or lessen the intensity of the feelings when they do come on.
While these amino acids certainly do wonders for the gut, our modern diets are woefully deficient in collagen! Consuming bone broth regularly helps to get consumption back up to level our bodies need.
To recap: Aside from reducing stress, the best way to encourage mental wellness is with a happy gut. Drinking bone broth regularly and cooking with it daily are great ways to consistently ensure a good supply of gelatin to keep that gut happy and healthy!
Looking for more? Check out our blog on all the benefits of bone broth.
- The Gut Brain Connection - https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection
- Bone Broth Fasting - https://alimillerrd.com/pages/bone-broth-fasting
- Stimulation of gastric acid secreted by glycine and related ogliopeptides in humans, A Wald, S A Adibi, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7065145/
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly.