Bone Broth As An Alternative Therapy For Cancer

Can diet cure cancer? I believe it can play an extremely important role in healing the body of cancer alongside other therapies. I believe that one of the very important parts of that diet, should include bone broth. 
What if our grandma was right…That chicken soup WAS really good for the soul. After all it always made us feel better when we were sick. To this day, we correlate chicken soup with being ill. So what is it about the chicken soup? Is it the chicken? The veggies? The broth? I believe it is a combination of all three that gives this super food a reason to be in everyones' daily routine for better health!  In this post I am going to specifically cover the importance of bone broth {a form of chicken soup} and its healing properties for chronic disease.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone Broth is the soup from bones (beef, poultry, fish) cooked over a long period of time (12-48 hours) flavored with vegetables and fresh herbs. Once finished cooking, the liquid (broth) is strained from the bones and vegetables and stored in the fridge/freezer to be consumed. You can enjoy broth as a warm beverage, a base to cook legumes and grains in-significantly increasing the digestibility and nutrient content of those otherwise difficult to digest foods. We typically use the carcass of an organic, pastured chicken that we had previously roasted for dinner. Once the meat has been consumed, we reserve the carcass in the freezer until I have the opportunity to make broth.

When suffering from an illness, infection or chronic disease, it is an attack on our immune system in the form of inflammation in the body. Therefore it is essential to incorporate anti-inflammatory nutrients into your diet through food and supplementation in order to heal your immune system. Did you know that 80-90% of our immune system is located in our gut? Let me break it down for you: what we eat, goes into our gut, which then contributes to the integrity of our immune system. Therefore it is essential that we choose our nutrients wisely and eat with a purpose, right? 

Why Our Gut Needs Bone Broth: 

photo courtesy of

The most common understanding of our gut, is that it receives and absorbs the food we eat and turns it into nutrients which keep us alive. Some of you have a love/hate relationship with your gut. You LOVE eating, but HATE how your gut reacts to the foods you are eating. Let me explain the 'hate' aspect of your relationship with your gut. We are created to have a thick mucousal lining that surrounds our gut to keep specific nutrients in and only let the necessary, digested nutrients into our blood stream. Picture a thick workout resistance band-the kind many physical therapists use for rehabilitation. This 'band' stretches over the top of the brain and continues through the body, surrounding the organs and glands superior to inferior, ending around the urinary tract. This mucousal lining acts as a protective barrier from the toxins we absorb through our skin; it protects our organs and prevents undigested foods and bugs from slipping into our blood stream. Due to the exposure of environmental toxins, indulgence in the standard American diet, pharmaceutical drug use and physical/emotional stress, that mucousal lining begins to resemble less of the workout resistance band and more like a pair of fishnet stockings. Those above mentioned 'toxins' cause the mucosal lining to become penetrated, letting undigested foods slip from the gut into the bloodstream. This activate the bodies immune system to respond as it finds 'foreign invaders' floating through the blood stream. The white blood cells mount an attack and histamine is produced.  Thus, food allergies are born. When this continues and goes on ignored, our own immune system becomes so used to 'attacking' foreign invaders that it begins to loose recognition of good and bad. Picture one of our military soldiers. They have been at war for 72 hours straight. No sleep, little food, just an intense gun battle. The air is so thick with smoke that it is hard to see anything. The solider is exhausted and becomes delirious. As a self defense reaction, he begins shooting at anything and everything that comes in his sight. This is similar to what would happen to our own immune system with a constant assault of undigested foods and bugs getting into our blood stream. Our white blood cells (the soldiers)-become so delirious, that they start attacking everything, good and bad. Thus leading to autoimmune disease. Definition of an autoimmune disease via Wikipedia: Arise from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body (autoimmunity). This may be restricted to certain organs (e.g. in autoimmune thyroiditis) or involve a particular tissue in different places. Can you even imagine the gut and mucousal lining disruption from chemotherapy, steroids, antibiotics, anti-funglas and radiation? Understanding that many of those medications may be necessary to treat the disease-it is crucial to do whatever we can to preserve our future health by being proactive and using our diet to cure cancer. 

Healing with Bone Broth:

So how does bone broth help with this war going on in our body? The gelatinous properties naturally occurring from the joints and connective tissues in the bones, are drawn out into the broth during the cooking process.  These nutrients patch up the holes in our mucousal lining. Gelatin, which is plentiful in homemade bone broth, is an incredible digestive aid. It has been used very successfully in the treatment of many intestinal diseases such as IBS, Crohns, Colitis and even Rheumatoid Arthritis. Speaking of digestive aid, bone broth specifically helps stimulate the production of stomach acid, necessary in the breakdown and absorption of proteins and minerals. Many people fighting disease, especially cancer, quickly loose the ability to properly digesttheir food. Due to the sympathetic {stressful} state their body is in, combined with the laundry list of pharmaceuticals they are taking, producing stomach acid is a challenge.  I have been receiving many emails from other cancer moms who are very concerned with their child's eating challenges during treatment. Most of these children are loosing weight, constantly throwing up and severely anemic. Sadly they are on antacid medications, which further suppresses the stomach acid necessary to digest protein. It is no wonder that forcing these children to eat anything is such a task; their little bodies no longer have the raw materials needed to digest food. Bone broth is a very effective and gentle way to stimulate digestion and calm the stomach. Not only is it full of nutrients {gelatin, minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium}, needed for a growing child, it is full of some essential amino acids. 

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins, as many of you know, are one of the most important aspects of our immune system. Two of the most important amino acids coming from gelatin that help promote a healthy immune system are Glycine and Proline. These amino acids have incredible anti-inflammatory abilities as well as detox properties.  Published in JAMA in 1935 {Journal of the American Medical Association}, Dr. Reuban Ottenberg stated:

"It has been suggested that the administration of extra amounts of proteins containing an abundance of glycine (such as gelatin) will help the work in the liver. This seems particularly plausible since the recent work of Quick, who has shown that the ability of the liver to perform this protective synthesis is limited by the amount of glycine available." 

So in other words-not only will glycine promote healing, but will help the liver detox as well.  For more on the specifics of the other specific nutrients in broth, read here

With a lack of attention to the absolute need to detox our children when they are going through rounds and rounds of cyto-toxic drugs {chemotherapy}, this is one easy way to begin supporting their bodies own ability to detoxing.  

As I mentioned above, many cancer patients bodies are so disrupted form the overload of medications that they loose the ability of their body to function properly. They need the raw materials to do that. A sour stomach isn't a Pepsid deficiency; the inability to fight a bacterial infection isn't a Septra deficiency. Those are symptoms that the body is lacking the raw materials to do its job. So how do we get those raw materialsback? Your right, we consume them! My previous knowledge in anatomy and physiology reminds me that if a specific organ or gland need support, then consume that same 'organ or gland' from a healthy source. No I am not talking about cannibalism (although that would have made for a super interesting and dramatic twist to this otherwise boring blog post). I am talking about therapeutic healing from pasture raised animals. When I would have a client come to me with severe adrenal fatigue, I would give them pharmaceutical grade nutrients that included desiccated adrenal glands from a healthy pasture raised animal. When I had a women suffering the symptoms of a poor functioning thyroid, she would see incredible progress through supplementing with thyroid nutrients from a healthy, pasture raised animals' thyroid gland. For leukemia, which is a cancer of the bone marrow, I was insistent on getting Kicker to consume plenty of bone marrow. Bone broth should always include bone marrow, which helps provide the raw materials for healthy blood cells and immune development. In fact, the gelatin components of bone broth, coming from marrow, has been incredibly successful in the treatment of anemia and other diseases of the blood, even cancer.  

Kicker getting his raw materials from
homemade bone broth!

After 16 rounds of chemo in almost 3 months, my 3 year old little fighter has yet to experience any side effects from chemotherapy. I believe it is nothing short of a miracle and thank God for the knowledge and resources we have for diet, detox and alternative therapy for cancer to support our son in the battle of his life. 

So I believe Grandma was not only right, but she would be so happy to know that her advice has now been published in a clinical study done at University of Nebraska Medical Center.  “The current study, therefore, presents evidence that chicken soup might have an anti-inflammatory activity, namely the inhibition of neutrophil migration,” said Dr. Rennard. This is particularly good news for individuals with chronic inflammation, auto-immune conditions and cancer.  

Bone Broth Recipe:

You can use the bones from any healthy animal-preferably a organically raised, pastured animal that is not being fed grain and not given antibiotics. The quality of healing will be a reflection of the quality of the food we are eating, so we must choose wisely!

Photo Courtesy of Selah Wellness

Ideally you want your broth to be the consistency of jello when it has cooled. This ensures that it is full of nutrient dense gelatin. Warming it up will melt the consistency to a liquid which can be easily consumed, however the jigglier the better.  Side Note: The song that comes to mind when I think about gelatinous broth is "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…" with my own version "my bone broth brings all the boys to the yard, and there like its jigglier than yours, damn right, its jigglier than yours…." Sorry.  Moving on

This is a recipe for chicken bone broth. We prefer this over the others as it has such a soothing, smooth taste and is particularly calming to the tummy.

The carcass of one whole, pastured raised chicken

2 Chicken 
feet {this is optional, but it adds so much gelatin to the broth}

{the next two ingredients are to be added in the last 20 minutes of cooking}
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 bunch of Parsley
{The following is not necessary but adds a wonderful flavor}

chicken and 
Place all ingredients in the pot with the purified water. {I always purchase organic vegetables so I don't even peel the onions or chop the carrots and celery}.  Let the ingredients sit for 
minutes, which allows the raw apple cider vinegar to draw the minerals out of the bones. Bring 
boil. Skim the impurities that have risen to the top of the stock pot, then reduce 
Add the sea salt and 
 at the end-about 20 minutes before turning the heat off. Strain the liquid through a sieve and store in glass mason jars. Broth can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for a few months.

Here is my YouTube video on how to make broth!


Season Johnson

Season Johnson, B.A., NTP uses her knowledge in preventive healthcare and nutrition science to educate families on how to achieve real health in a real-life way. Through a nutrient dense diet, detox remedies and healthy living, she is helping her 3 year old son, beat cancer and thrive during conventional treatment.