Interstitial Cystitis, Protocols, Recipes

Bone Broth For Interstitial Cystitis (Plus Recipe)

Bone broth played a big role in my recovery from interstitial cystitis. I consumed it everyday for 6 months and finally the pain started to ease. Although I don’t think it was just the bone broth, there are good reasons to believe that it can do a lot of good for interstitial cystitis sufferers.




Bone broth has been a staple in traditional cultures all over the world and for good reason: not only is it cheap and easy to make and adds a lot of flavor to any dish but also it’s one of the most healing foods one can consume.

Bone broth possesses a unique combination of minerals, amino acids and cartilage. The combination varies depending on the type of bones and the cooking method used and different types of broth will be suitable for different types of dishes.

It also contains Proteoglycans, a.k.a GAGs, which are also present in the protective layer covering the bladder wall (called the ‘GAG layer’). The GAG layer is often damaged in interstitial cystitis sufferers.

Bone broth contains the raw materials needed for a healthy GAG layer. It can also help ease inflammation and support the immune system.

The healing components of broth

Bone broth is very nourishing as it contains dissolved collagen, marrow and bone; minerals and vitamins; and the important amino acids glycine, proline and glutamine.

Collagen is needed nearly everywhere in the body. The entire collagen molecule consists of over 1000 amino acids of which every third is glycine. The structure of the molecule varies in different species.

We need collagen for firm skin, strong bones and healthy muscles, tendons and cartilage. Collagen production slows as we age or when we’re ill. Broth contains all the nutrients the body needs to produce collagen and therefore consuming collagen-rich broth and meat is a great measure to help counteract the signs of aging.

Cartilage is the framework between all moving parts of the body that reduces friction and absorbs shocks. The components of animal cartilage are dissolved into bone broth and those are the nutrients humans need to maintain healthy cartilage and even rebuild it.

Bones in broth provide an array of minerals in a very bio-available form. The number and combination depends on the status of the animal. These minerals support bone health and provide the matrix that makes bones hard. Collagen on the other hand is needed as the basic building block of bones and keeps them strong and resilient.

Marrow is dissolved into broth during the long cooking process and is one of the most nourishing foods. It helps with stem cell regeneration, immunity, blood sugar regulation, fat deposition and oxygen transport. It also helps to build strong bones and connective tissue.

The most abundant amino acids in bone broth are proline, glycine, alanine and glutamine. Although they are non-essential, an already sick body will have problems manufacturing them.

Proline and glycine are the most important building blocks for collagen and cartilage. Glycine is extremely important for healthy blood, digestion and detoxification. It is also helpful in reducing inflammation.

Glutamine is the ideal food for gut cells and therefore has great gut healing properties. It may also increase immunity and detoxification, help to repair and build muscle and also provides food for the brain.

Alanine is important for liver function, the production of glucose and the citric acid cycle (energy production in cells).

Proteoglycans are sugars that collect and hold water. One type of proteoglycan is HA which is a major component of synovial fluid (carries nutrients to the cartilage and prevents tear and wear). HA cushions and lubricates all movable parts of the body. It is also present in all skin tissue where it provides continuous moisture. HA is mainly made up of protein sugars called GAGs. One of them is glucosamine which is known to decrease inflammation and helps to repair cartilage. It also helps repair the GAG layer in the gut (which is often defect in autoimmune disorders) and the bladder.

Another helpful sugar found in GAGs is galactosamine which supports the immune system.

Another proteoglycan that protects cartilage is chondroitin sulfate.

Broth can assist the utilization and digestibility of protein and furthermore diminishes the amount of protein needed by the body.

However, broth is not a complete protein and therefore should be consumed in addition to other protein rich foods.

According to Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel, the authors of ‘Nourishing Broth‘, bone broth can help cure and prevent many of our modern day diseases. It aids in:

Recovery from illness and surgery, the healing from pain and inflammation, emotional balance, better digestion, lessening of allergies, and the treatment of many autoimmune disorders.

If you want to learn more about how broth can help you and how to make and use broth I can really recommend this book.

I love broth because not only is it very comforting but also it makes use of the whole animal (and I’m a fan of no-waste), it is very cheap to make (my local butcher gives away bones for free) and it adds a lot of flavor (no more MSG laden stock cubes!).

There’s different ways you can make broth and the preparation varies depending on the type of bones used. Below are some options so you can start making tasty broth yourself!

What is your experience with bone broth? Are you interested in trying it? Let me know in the comments!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • About 3 pounds of bones (fresh or from a roast)
  • Chicken feet, heads, pig’s foot or calf foot (optional but this produces more gelatin)
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar
  • Coarsely chopped vegetables such as peeled carrots, onion, celery, leek and parsley (optional)
  • About 6 pints cold filtered water

Instructions

  1. Place the bones in a stock pot or slow cooker and pour the vinegar over them
  2. Place the optional vegetables on top and add enough water to cover everything
  3. Let sit for 30 mins or longer
  4. Cover, bring just to a boil and then cook on low for 12–24 hours. Maintain a simmer but prevent boiling (leave the lid slightly ajar)
  5. Skim off any foam that rises to the top and occasionally check to make sure the ingredients stay covered
  6. Remove the bones and vegetables and fill the broth into containers. Once cooled, the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off. You can store the broth in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for many months. The bones can be reused up to two more times.

Sources

  • Daniel, Kaayla T. and Fallon, Sally, Nourishing Broth (New York, Grand Central Life & Style, 2014)
  • Fallon, Sally, Nourishing Traditions (Washington, NewTrends Publishing, Inc., 2001)

23 Comments

  • Reply

    chelsea w

    February 1, 2017

    I’m a sufferer of IC but I’ve honestly never heard of this! It sounds really interesting and something I’m definitely going to look more into. I’m up for trying (usually) anything!

  • Reply

    Layla

    February 1, 2017

    I can definitely recommend trying bone broth – it has several other benefits apart from the potential IC support 🙂

  • Reply

    Despina

    June 1, 2017

    Hi Layla, I have two questions: 1) You said that you use vinegar in broth. Doesn’t vinegar trigger IC? 2) Now that you recovered, can you eat/drink everything (citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee) that used to trigger IC without any problems? Thank you

    • Reply

      Layla

      June 1, 2017

      Hi Despina, yes, vinegar can trigger IC – in the broth a little bit is used to extract minerals from the bones but after the lengthy cooking process the acidity goes away so the broth won’t taste of vinegar and won’t be acidic. The vinegar is also not crucial to the recipe, you’d still get good broth without it. Yes, I can eat citrus/tomato without triggering bladder issues (I have never been a coffee drinker, so I couldn’t tell you about that). The goal would be to calm down inflammation in the bladder, which is the reason these foods are a problem, not the foods themselves. Hope that helps

  • Reply

    Rosie

    June 27, 2017

    Hi Layla,

    I love your page, I am really suffering with IC and am desperately trying to find the right diet to take. However I am a vegetarian and was wondering if there is an alternative to bone broth? Or can I take supplements that would have similar properties? Thank you!

    • Reply

      Layla

      June 27, 2017

      There is no real alternative to bone broth. You could use gelatin or collagen hydrolysate but these are still made from bone. L-glutamine supplementation would be one option, but it doesn’t provide a lot of the benefits of bone broth. Are you a vegetarian for ethical or health reasons? I personally only really started healing once I re-introduced animal foods (after 25 years of vegetarianism and a year on raw vegan). A lot of the nutrients that are beneficial for epithelial tissue are found in and are more bio-available from animal sources. The diet I outline on my blog is what I found over time to make the most sense biologically. Don’t forget that we’re all individual, so one size never fits all!

  • Reply

    Ari

    August 31, 2017

    I am very interested in trying this and was excited to see a bone broth recipe specifically for IC patients but I see vinegar is in the recipe and I know that isn’t IC friendly?

    • Reply

      Layla

      August 31, 2017

      Hi Ari, the acidity of the vinegar disappears from the cooking, it was never a problem for me. You can leave it out however, it’s just to draw more minerals out of the bone but it’s not absolutely necessary.

    • Reply

      Tomika

      November 24, 2017

      I made homemade bone broth from grass fed beef bones and the broth has AMAZING results as well as it is tasty! Drinking nice and warm from scratch taste better that already made in the store. Besides, when you make it, it lasts for 1 week in the frig and 3 months on the freezer. I had it for 1 day and the next morning I could see a difference in my skin and body. It truly feeds the cells and no pain whatsoever with IC. Between the bone broth and herbs and a certain way of eating, IC can be healed. I also have done a ketogenic diet and NEVER had pain! My main issue now is weak pelvic floor muscles in which I have vaginally weights for that to strengthen those muscles. If anyone has any interest in doing a ketogenic way of eating, I was coached by Stephanie Persons. You can find her on YouTube. http://www.StephaniePersons.com

  • Reply

    Tomika

    November 24, 2017

    By the way, adding lots of tumeric to the bone broth is also very tasty and beneficial as it is an anti-inflammatory spice.

  • Reply

    Diana

    January 21, 2018

    Some IC theories implicated increased histamine and recommend anti-histamines as forms of treatment. Bone broth is high in histamine. I wonder what you think about this, could it make people whose IC is histamine related (maybe histamine intolerant) worse? And would meat broth have similar benefits? Thanks! Great blog btw!

    • Reply

      Layla

      January 21, 2018

      Good point! Yes, I believe in those people bone broth could be problematic, at least initially. So short cooked meat broth would be better – it will have a different composition (less minerals, more amino acids) but should still be beneficial as long as it’s meat on the bone and contains some gelatin. It’s also important to cool and freeze the broth asap, as histamine increases with storage time.

  • Reply

    Chelsea

    February 6, 2018

    How much bone broth do you recommend drinking per day?

    • Reply

      Layla

      February 6, 2018

      Maybe a mug, or have soups and stews. But if your digestion is really compromised I wouldn’t have too much liquid with foods as it can dilute digestive juices. Just try and incorporate a bit each day if you tolerate it well, there’s no need to go crazy.

      • Reply

        Chelsea

        February 6, 2018

        Thanks! I’ve never had digestive issues. Just IC. I’m hoping bone broth will help, though.

  • Reply

    Lorraine

    February 22, 2018

    Hi, I have now made two batches of bone broth,left simmering in slow cooker for 24+ hours both batches never went to jelly just watery, what am I doing wrong and is it still any good? My son has IC.

    • Reply

      Layla

      February 22, 2018

      Hi Lorraine, this normally means too much water in relation to bones/meat. I also find it hard to get my chicken broth to gel! It still should have all the good stuff in it though, just more diluted so I wouldn’t worry about it. The gel from just chicken is gelatin, which is also good.

  • Reply

    Lorraine

    February 22, 2018

    P.s if I cook whole chicken in the slow cooker without water this turns to a lovely rich jelly is this as beneficial?

  • Reply

    Michelle

    July 12, 2018

    Layla,

    Thank you for all your great information and kind, thoughtful responses.

    I used to live in England where I had access to an organic farm/ good beef bones to make bone broth; at the time I was treating Leaky Gut.

    Now I’m in the US and dealing with IC and having difficulty finding organic bones/marrow; is it possible the Bone Broth powders, (Dr. Axe’s Ancient Nutrition brand) is as beneficial?

    Also, is there a particular brand of gelatin you recommend? Do you recommend putting the gelatin into the broth or taking it separately?

    • Reply

      Layla

      July 14, 2018

      No problem 🙂
      As far as I know bone broth powder is just dried bone broth, so yes, it’s probably the same (but more expensive) as bone broth. You could do Gelatin instead of bone broth, I don’t see the need to take both necessarily. You could mix them or take them separately, it doesn’t really matter. Quality is important here, decent brands that I know of are Great Lakes and Vital Proteins. You might find this resource useful, some links on where to source stuff in the US: https://www.thepaleomom.com/recommended/paleo-aip-kitchen-pantry/

  • Reply

    Christy Hollister

    August 20, 2018

    Hi Layla,

    I have been completely Symtom free from IC for 20 years. and it left one day as mysteriously as it came, I was not as educated about nutrition as I am now, been researching and studying health and nutrition for many years now. Over these past 20 years I have been able to eat and drink anything without a care and be intimate with my fiance frequently. I really thought it was completely healed since I already eat a clean diet, work out 5x a week with weight training, spinning, road biking and powerwalking 6 miles 3x a week. One day out of the blue the bladder spams started about a month ago (thank God no burning or frequency) and I thought oh they will be gone in a day or two, how wrong I was, it is here with a vengeance to the point I had to stop exercising because it made it worse. I have started Dr. Kellyann’s bone broth plan and I am totally committed for a very very long time, I am determined to get this healed once for all and whatever it takes…I tried doing Marshmellow root tea and Benonite clay and it made it alot worse…do you have any other suggestions to go along with the bone broth regime Layla?

    • Reply

      Layla

      August 20, 2018

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, Christy! I know I’ve said that bone broth helped me and that it could be great but with where I’m at atm with my research, personal experience and clients I would say it doesn’t work for everyone and I’m not even sure it could fix anyone’s issues by itself. The research and my experience is pointing more and more towards issues stemming from infection/bacterial imbalances that haven’t been addressed so that’s mostly what I’m addressing with my clients. In some people with yeast and oxalate issues bone broth can actually exacerbate oxalate issues so I don’t recommend it in those cases. I see stress as a huge issue with many people and it might be wort considering if there were any stressful events leading up to this episode? Or could it be that you pushed yourself too hard with the exercise?

  • Reply

    Christy Hollister

    August 21, 2018

    I think what you said at the end is probably what did it…I was exercising like a mad woman! I never ever had bacteria the few years I had IC back in the early 90’s and I never have taken antibiotics, tried 1 time and in 2 days I was so sick and had serious diarreha so my immune system is definitely free from being ruined by heavy antibiotic use by the majority of IC suffers. I have always taken, Primrose Oil, Good Calcium, Flaxseed/Fish Oil Complex, 1000 C, multi, turmeric all natural ones from Vitacost, I was truly convienced I had built up and healed my bladder after 2 decades. I am reading “Nourishing Broth” and feeling very encouraged and full of faith that this is the answer for me because I have always believed “Let they food be thy medicene” especially after reading so many miraculous testimonies of how Bone Broth healed the most serious diseases and accidents. I will let you know how things are going in about 2 months, thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly…take care Layla!

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