The Many Benefits of Bone Marrow
by Evan DeMarco on Jan 17, 2023
If you love the flavor of meat, it’s time to consider whether you should add more bone marrow to your diet. Animal bone marrow has been consumed for centuries, whether as a main course, appetizer or added to broth and soups.
Bone marrow is delicious, but better yet, it offers plenty of health benefits. Here’s what you should know about bone marrow and how to get more in your diet.
What is bone marrow?
Bone marrow refers to the tissue in the center of bones, most prevalent in thigh, hip and spine bones. The marrow has stem cells, which can produce red and white blood cells—the cells that move oxygen through your bloodstream and assist in blood clotting.
Keep in mind that, despite its health benefits, bone marrow is high in fat and calories. Make sure to take that into account when you’re factoring bone marrow into your diet.
You can request bone marrow bones from your local butcher. Most people soak them, clean the bones and then roast them or add them to soups and sauces. If you roast the bones, simply take a spoon to remove the marrow and spread it on toast.
Finally, bone marrow liquid, powder and even capsule products are available, although they’ll have a much different flavor and texture than freshly roasted or boiled bone marrow.
Benefits of eating bone marrow
Here are some of the health benefits you can enjoy whenever you eat bone marrow:
- Lower your risk of weight-related disease: Bone marrow includes a hormone called adiponectin. The hormone helps the body break down fats, regulate insulin sensitivity and ward off heart disease, obesity-related cancers and diabetes. The higher your adiponectin levels, the lower your risk of weight-related disease will be. Furthermore, as we lose weight, adiponectin levels should rise.
- Better skin, joint and bone health: If you’re feeling older and creakier than usual, bone marrow is also loaded with collagen, which promotes better skin and bone health. Furthermore, it contains glucosamine, which helps reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint inflammation.
- Reduce the risk of inflammation-related disease: Bone marrow is also full of glycine and conjugated linoleic acid, which are anti-inflammatories. As you may know, chronic inflammation increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
- Vitamins and minerals: In addition to the nutrients above, a 14-gram serving of bone marrow typically includes the following recommended daily intake percentages: one percent of vitamin A, seven percent vitamin B12, two percent of vitamin E, four percent of iron intake, six percent of riboflavin and one percent of the RDI for phosphorus and thiamine. It also offers a gram of protein per serving.
- Boost immunity and build stem cells: The vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in bone marrow are great for keeping your immune system functioning. Plus, the stem cells in bone marrow help your body repair your tissues and produce both red and white blood cells.
- Reduce animal waste: Although this isn’t a health benefit, bone marrow is a great (and delicious) way to reduce animal waste. In fact, bone marrow used to be inexpensive simply because it was a “throwaway” part. Now that we know the health benefits of eating bone marrow, however, it’s become popular once more—especially because it reduces our overall impact on the environment.
Get some bone marrow in your diet
When you’re ready to add bone marrow to your diet, whether as an upscale appetizer or addition to soups and broths, the bones are typically available from your local butcher. Most butchers will be happy to split the bones open for you, which is important if you plan to eat the marrow directly from the bone.
This recipe describes the process for roasting and eating bone marrow with toast, but feel free to get creative. Once you’ve roasted the bones, consider adding the marrow in place of your favorite fat in other dishes. The rich meaty flavor and unctuous fats make for an unforgettable addition to many recipes.
Ultimately, while research on the health benefits of bone marrow is limited, one thing is certain: it’s packed with nutrients. As long as you account for the extra fat and calories in your diet, you can enjoy this treat on a regular basis—and know that you’re supporting your health in a surprising new way.