Bone Broth and Lead Toxicity: Should You Be Concerned? | Chris Kresser

Bone Broth and Lead Toxicity: Should You Be Concerned?

by Chris Kresser

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Vladislav Ageshin/Hemera/Thinkstock

Yesterday I became aware of a study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses called “The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets.” (1) The authors mention that consumption of bone broth may be increasing because it is recommended by advocates of both the GAPS and Paleo diets. It’s well-established that farm animals (and humans, for that matter) can be exposed to lead via food, water, air, dust and soil, and that it progressively accumulates in bone. The researchers wanted to find out whether the bones of farm animals might sequester lead, which would then be released into broth during its preparation.

Does bone broth contain toxic levels of lead? Tweet This

To find out, they prepared chicken broth (using organic chickens) three different ways:

  • using chicken bones;
  • using cooked chicken meat without the bones;
  • using chicken skin and cartilage without the bones after the whole chicken had been cooked.

In each case the same tap water, cooking utensils, cookware and cooking time was used. They also included a fourth control preparation, where they followed the same procedure but used only tap water heated for the same length of time. The lead concentrations in the four different samples were as follows:

  • chicken-bone broth: 7.01 µg/L
  • bone broth from chicken meat (without bones): 2.3 µg/L
  • bone broth made from skin and cartilage off the bone: 9.5 µg/L
  • control (tap water): 0.89 µg/L

As you can see, the levels of lead in bone broth made from chicken bones was a little over 7x higher than the tap water, and a little over 10x higher in broth made from chicken skin and cartilage. As the authors point out, lead has “adverse medical effects on the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, haemopoietic system, gastrointestinal tract, renal system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and reproductive system”. In short, too much lead wreaks havoc on every system of the body.

Does this mean it’s time to quit the bone broth? Not so fast.

How much lead is safe?

The authors of the study express alarm about the “high” levels of lead found in the bone broth preparations they made. However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a safety threshold of 15 parts per billion (ppb, which is equivalent to 15 µg/L) for lead in drinking water. On their page discussing lead and water, they explain that:

Most studies show that exposure to lead-contaminated water alone would not be likely to elevate blood lead levels in most adults, even exposure to water with a lead content close to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) “action level” for lead of 15 parts per billion (ppb). Risk will vary, however, depending upon the individual, the circumstances, and the amount of water consumed. For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water may be at a higher risk because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size.

If drinking water consistently throughout the day with lead levels of 15 µg/L (ppb) does not pose a problem for human adults (and children with the exception of infants drinking formula), then why would drinking 2-3 cups of bone broth with lead levels of 9.5 µ/L pose a problem? I don’t think it would.

That might be the end of the argument right there. But there are additional factors to consider that may make lead in homemade chicken broth even less of a concern.

The importance of nutrient synergy

There’s no doubt that it’s smart to minimize exposure to toxins as much as possible. But in an environment where toxins are found in foods that also contain beneficial nutrients, we must always balance the benefits of those nutrients against the potential harms of the toxins. What’s more, some nutrients protect against the harmful effects of toxins.

For example, I’ve written on the blog and talked on my podcast about how selenium protects against mercury toxicity in fish. More specifically, the reason mercury is toxic is that it damages selenium-dependent enzymes that play a crucial role in protecting us from oxidative damage. This is why you’ve heard so much publicity about the dangers of consuming fish with mercury. However, what these reports neglected to consider is that if a food you consume contains more selenium than mercury, or if background selenium intake is high, mercury won’t be able to destroy all of your selenoenzymes and you’ll be protected from its toxic effects.

As it turns out, certain nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C and thiamin (B1) have a similar protective effect against lead toxicity. These nutrients are abundant in Paleo and GAPS diets, and in the case of calcium, abundant in bone broth itself. Let’s take a closer look at how two of these nutrients, calcium and iron, protect against lead toxicity.


Both animal and human studies have shown that low calcium intake increases the risk of lead toxicity. In one rat study, researchers found that rats ingesting a low calcium diet had blood-lead concentrations four times higher than rats on a normal calcium diet, although the quantities of lead ingested were equal. The mechanisms by which calcium protects against lead toxicity involve complex interactions among lead, dietary calcium, intestinal calcium binding proteins and vitamin D, especially 1,25 D (the active form). (2) In fact, the interaction between calcium and lead is quite similar to that of selenium and mercury: one of the ways lead causes harm is by interfering with the beneficial effects of calcium. Lead is known to mimic calcium in biological systems or to alter calcium-mediated cellular responses, compete with calcium in enzyme systems, impair calcium metabolism, or inhibit 1,25-D-mediated regulation of calcium metabolism. (3) Calcium has also been shown to reduce the absorption of lead in the gastrointestinal tract. (4)


Studies have also shown that susceptibility to lead toxicity is influenced by nutritional iron status. A study in the early 70s found that rodents fed an iron-deficient diet experienced increased susceptibility to lead toxicity. In humans, low iron status of adults has been reported to increase gastrointestinal absorption of lead. (5) As is the case with the lead-calcium and mercury-selenium interactions, lead has been shown to interfere with iron’s physiological functions. For example, lead inhibits three major enzymes that are involved with the production of heme, the ferrous (iron-based) component of hemoglobin, which is the protein that transports oxygen to the cells and tissues of the body. (Mahaffey) Studies also suggest that insufficient iron intake increases the gastrointestinal absorption and soft tissue concentration of lead. (6)

What about vitamin D, vitamin C and thiamin? Though less is known about how these nutrients protect against lead toxicity, vitamin D appears to modify lead distribution once it has been absorbed, preventing its incorporation into bone. (Cheng). Vitamin C has been shown to have chelating properties which help remove lead from the body. And thiamin (B1) appears to inhibit the uptake of lead into cells and promote lead excretion. (7)

We are what we eat — and animals are no exception

It’s also plausible that the diet and living conditions of the animals we use to make bone broth will significantly influence the levels of lead their bones, and thus the broth, contain. Food, water, soil and dust are the largest sources of exposure to lead in farm animals. It appears that cereal grains contribute most to dietary exposure to lead. (8) Although I have not seen any comparative data on this, it’s thus reasonable to assume that pasture-raised chickens who eat a combination of forage and grain-based feed would have lower lead levels than conventionally-raised chickens that eat only grain-based feed.

I hope to have some data that will help answer this question in the coming weeks. Jessica Prentice, one of the worker-owners of the Three Stone Hearth community-supported kitchen in Berkeley, CA, has sent samples of their bone broth in to get tested for lead. They make their broth with pasture-raised chickens, so we’ll have at least one example of lead levels in pastured chicken broth to draw from.

That said, given that the levels of lead in the chicken broth tested in the Medical Hypotheses study were below the EPA established safe upper limit for drinking water, and given the protective effect of several nutrients abundant in Paleo/GAPS diets (and even in broth itself), it seems to me that it’s quite safe to consume 2-3 cups of bone broth per day. This is likely to be even more true if your broth is made from pasture-raised chickens. I recommend Kettle & Fire bone broth as a source of lead-free bone broth.

I’ll continue to investigate this issue and report back if I learn anything that changes my opinion.


Join the conversation

  1. I have researched many articles about the “healthful benefits” of bone broth. I have had collagenous and lymphocytic colitis since 1999. SO, I wanted to heal my gut, of course.
    I went out and purchased two organic chickens-to my deep consternation-as I’ve been a vegetarian since 1988. I was so desperate to see a radical change in my gut health.
    I slow-cooked the bones for about 26 hours, as suggested. I allowed it to cool, skimmed off the fat, and used two cups of broth to make noodle soup. During the early night, about 12:20 A.M. I began to heave and heave and at the same time felt an urge to run to the bathromm with the worst diarrhea of all time.
    The weird thing is that when I threw up, it was the most ghastly looking stuff I’d ever seen. Now, I’m a Registered Nurse with 32 years of hospital experience, and I have NEVER seen vomit like that it my life!!! Words could not describe it-so I won’t even go there.
    So, this morning, I began further research…..not one article mentioned excess glutamtic acids until I specifically asked if drinking long-cooked bones could make you REALLY sick. But when I specifically asked that question on Google, I found dozens of articles that talked about it.
    I can tell you for certain, personally, I may never be able to look at chicken again! It was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had and kept me awake all night with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. As I did further research (after the incident) I read that people with an autoimmune disease, such as Inflammtory Bowel Disease (All types of Colitis) should not use long-cooked broths. I doubt that after that experience I’ll be able to try the short-cooked broth now. (Perhaps after the memory of last night as long disappeared?)

    • Does anyone know about levels if fluoride in the bones of animals used, and tap water raising levels of FLUORIDE?
      Any concern? Pesticides are high in fluoride and animals do eat …
      I am trying to lower fluoride.
      High levels in organic chicken sausage *mechanically removed from bones? Buy free range organic fed chick bone in breast and make my own? Go vegetarian?
      Impossible to find the info I seek. Please help

  2. Just wanted to share my experience… I got really into bone broth for 6 months while living in Thailand. I would get rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and then use the bones to make the broth in a slow cooker. Well, after about 5 months of this my hair started falling out, I was incredibly tired, and my gut issues weren’t getting any better. I started working with a functional medicine doctor and found out I have 13x the amount of lead I should in my body…hard to say just how I got levels so high but I have a strong hunch that it was the bone broth in large part due to the timing of it all.

  3. This is a really old thread but I hope Jannie from Denmark is still monitoring responses. I have had similar issues extreme food intolerances to the point where the only thing I could tolerate for years was raw milk. My leaky gut was causing histamine intolerance to probiotics. My condition has improved quite a bit by doing liver and gallbladder cleansing. I started passing gallstones after years of doing colon cleansing, coffee enemas and lots of magnesium supplements. So I researched and found out about olive oil gallbladder flushes. They work great for some people but I had to modify it to get it to work for myself. I do an apple juice fast once a week (at least 24 hours) and then follow with 3-4 TBSP of coconut oil. I found that coconut oil worked better for me. I would try both. Lecithin has also helped me dissolve a lot of stones. It has been about a year for me and stones are still coming out. I can only get them to come out slowly (I believe because my gallbladder is severely congested) but my digestion improves more and more as my GB gets cleaner. My histamine intolerance has improved as well.

    • Show me the actual scans showing all the stones in your gallbladder.. Stones coming out for years? How big do you think the Gallbladder is LOL!

  4. PLEASE READ THIS: I became very sick consuming 3 glasses of bone broth per day for around a year. Not just physically sick but terrible depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts since I couldn’t go on this way. I stopped bone broth, and got better overnight. Interestingly though, I had a hair tissue analysis, and the results showed tin which was off the chart and copper toxicity which was 75% as high as the tin, not lead. Please note that I cant give any advice as I’m not a health professional – just warn of my own experience, which has significantly damaged my life. e.g. couldnt work and am now unemployed, tried to plead with my doctor who thinks I must have psych problems since its not something he recognises.

    • Sorry to hear about your experience.
      You could be reacting to the Histamines in the bone broth. Very common with people who have gut issues….

  5. I have been on the bone broth diet for a month now. Just the past couple of days I have developed a metallic taste in my mouth after I eat it…is this a symptom?

    • If you are on a a very low carb diet you could be producing more ketones which you can test for in your urine with urine strips.

  6. Chris: thank you, as always, for the abundance of information you so generously share with everyone—this article is no exception. On the subject of lead exposure and bone broth, I wanted to share something that I learned recently, and I was shocked: If one uses a CROCK POT, as I do, with the standard ceramic liner, the liner may release lead into your food as it cooks! I’m still researching this, but it makes me very reluctant to use my crock pot—and I count on it because I simmer my broth for 36-48 hours as I don’t want to leave my stove on that long. Do you have any insights into this, or am I being paranoid? Thank you so much!

    • Susan, any reputable brand of crock pot will not have ceramic glazed with lead or cadmium contaminated glazes. You can buy a test kit called LeadCheck to test your enameled cookware.

  7. I made a batch of beef bone broth for a whole day and want to enjoy it. So- just don’t over do it will help with the question of toxicity? I take calcium every day. 600 mg.

  8. 50 years ago my mother would not make soup from cow bones as she said waste matter like urin and acid from the bone marrow would seep into the soup. Any truth in that?

  9. I started making beef bone broth last month and wondered if anyone has tested the beef bones for their lead levels. Personally, chicken bones are too dense and therefore I use beef bones. Can you provide test results for these animals? I’m sure the benefit of the bone/chicken broth outweighs the negative. As a precaution, it wouldn’t hurt to have the lead monitored via (blood work) during yearly physical exam.

  10. I would really like to know the source of the chickens before I would believe that all chickens have that level of lead in them. We know fish have high levels of lead toxicity because of environmental factors and we also know that “organic” doesn’t mean those animals were not fed tap water with high levels of lead or what their environment was like. Wouldn’t it be best to test a non-commercial chicken, grass fed, grass finished with local well sourced water? I would imagine that their levels of lead might be lower unless there was high levels of lead in the water well.

    I always question science articles as sometimes they neglect important steps in testing their theory. For example, it would be better to test multiple brands/sources of organic chickens vs the preparation recipe. After reading the abstract, it seems they may have only used organic chicken from one source and then had three different types of preparation of said chicken. Thus this experiment is more indicative on what areas of the chicken hold higher ratios of lead then it is of lead from chicken bone broth in general.

    They should have also tested from other animals besides chicken as well.

    • They just want people to stop buying Organic chicken….. that’s how I see it! Someone paid them to do this “test” and they didn’t even bother to test other animal’s bones and other brands of chicken and non-organic and “natural” chicken……. I’m pretty sure that Organic in many cases will have less lead! and which organic – is it USDA checked?

  11. If soil is a factor in lead levels, doesn’t it seem plausable that pasture raised may be concern for higher lead levels.

  12. Hi Chris, I really value your opinion and use your blog as a resource all the time. My question is an important one. I have a 5.5 month old who I’ve been giving bone broth to for the past few days. She absolutely LOVES it. What is your opinion on this? Because she only weight about 16lbs should I be concerned about lead? She has been exclusively breastfed until 2 weeks ago and she’s had about 1-2 tbsp of broth per day for the past few days. Looking forward to your thoughts and thank you so much for your amazing blog and all that you do!

    • Hi – I know your comment is from over a year ago but this may still be relevant to you. Although the EPA has an action level of 15ppb, Washington DC (where I live) has an action level of just *2* ppb. When the pre-k in our district tested at 3 ppb in the drinking countenance, the school required all children to bring filtered water from home, for nearly a year until they had remediate the problem. So for small child, the levels of sad that this study identifies in bone broth could be very problematic. 10 PPB is 500% higher than the lead action level in Washington DC. If my home taps produced that level of lead, I would remediate them immediately.

      • Whoops – I made some dictation typos! Drinking fountains, not drinking “countenance.” And levels of LEAD, not levels of “sad.”

  13. The solution to the lead/heavy metal issue is simple: take iodine with your broth. Iodine will bind to the metal and flush it out. You should take selenium and Vitaming C with your iodine to balance it and help flush out toxic metals.

  14. Hey, so did you ever get back the lab results for the pastured batch of broth? I’m curious to know what the results were. Thanks!

  15. I had a hair mineral analysis test done before/after I started consuming organic, pastured chicken bone broth. Before, my lead levels were .1. After 3 months of consuming about one cup a day of homemade bone broth from organic, pastured chickens, my lead levels have increased to .3. They are now on the border of what is considered “acceptable”. I am one of those people who do currently have low calcium and iron so that explains why I am accumulating lead. Never the less, I am cutting back on the bone broth for now.

    • Why you dont perform normal blood sample analysis? Hair analysis isnt valid method(I will say is flawed method used by people who need something in you to treat)
      Levels of minerals in the hair do not correlate with levels in the body.
      Laboratory techniques are inconsistent–the same hair analyzed in different labs shows different readings.
      There are no known “normal” ranges for minerals in hair, so the numbers given by the lab are nonsensical.
      Hair analysis is affected by color, texture, age, exposure to the environment, and a host of other factors, rendering results invalid.
      Most importantly, hair analysis has never been proven to help diagnose or treat any disease.

      • Blood test is not a good way to test lead levels. The best way, in my opinion, is a six hour provoked urine test. This will give you a more accurate result for heavy metals.

  16. For my part, I am concerned about the fluoride content of bone broth and gelatin. Most water is fluoridated unfortunately, and the animals are drinking it. Fluoride collects in bones primarily. The symptoms Moosya describes after taking gelatin (migraine) point to fluoride toxicity.

          • You joking right? Symptom they describe can be caused by so many other condition that only incompetent person will said that they are due to fluoride, moreover if you will go and study fluoride toxicity profile you will be see that this lvl which they are probably exposed cause such symptoms second they will get first other symptoms, in other word you try show your knowledge about fluoride toxicity yet only show lack of knowledge in this topic. P.S Im toxicologist.

              • “only manage to show your rudeness ” because point your incompetence? ” poor grammar.” maybe not all are native US. I learn other languages and english only by myself to understand studies so sorry for my grammar I wonder in how many languages you can speak so freely. I point about your incompetence in this field you dont provide any reasonable arguments only changed topic

                • So wondering about something and asking questions is proof of incompetence? For your information, I learned the form of fluoride in bones is not likely to be a problem. But at the time I asked, I was seeking the information.

                  However, the glutamic acid from long cooking of the bones can cause issues for many. Bone broth can also cause problems for those who are histamine intolerant.

                  Anyway, I am done talking to you, Mr. “You’re incompetent”

                • “So wondering about something and asking questions is proof of incompetence?” So pointing others that they have fluoride toxicity ” The symptoms Moosya describes after taking gelatin (migraine) point to fluoride toxicity.””ul’s symptoms are also indicative of fluoride issues.” is like you wrote “So wondering about something and asking questions is proof of incompetence?” you dont ask question you point others that they have fluoride toxicity even if they symptoms dont mean that.
                  “However, the glutamic acid from long cooking of the bones can cause issues for many” glutamatic acid slower aborption with other food like fat or carbs, so again you only show ignoracne talking about thing where you dont have knowledge.
                  ” Bone broth can also cause problems for those who are histamine intolerant.” wow best arguments, guess what everything in what someone has allergy will be cause problem to this person..
                  “Anyway, I am done talking to you, Mr. “You’re incompetent”” typical reaction from person without any arguments.

            • Darius:
              You are a intoxicated MD
              with your toxi-
              cology title , keep studying and you’ll find
              how wrong you
              are .

  17. I just made bone broth using frozen local grass fed lamb bones which I simmered for 48 hours. I have 3 questions:
    1. I made mine in an super large enamel coated steel canning pot – was this a safe cooking vessel choice?
    2. It was so delicious I drank 3 or 4 cups of it in the first two days… however, I had an unexpected reaction of a headache, congestion and upset tummy after the 2nd day. I’ve since read that slow cooking the bones can cause a build up of histamine and MSG in them to which people with histamine intolerance (not that I ever thought I had one) will react. For this reason, I read in a few places, it is advisable for people rebuilding their guts, to start with shorter term cooking times (4-6 hours) and meat stocks and to avoid bone broths cooked for prolonged periods due to the histamine issue. Has anyone else heard of this? I’m bummed as I have 3 huge yummy containers of my beautiful broth in the freezer and fridge that I might not be able to use.
    3. This will probably sound strange, but the bones were so soft, I ate several- thinking it was the same as when I eat wild red salmon with the bones included… perhaps the bones had lots of toxins in them that are causing my reaction?

    • An enamel-coated steel pot should be okay for making broth/stock. That said, I fail to understand why anyone would cook animal bones for two days since the idea that additional nutrients become available this way has recently been debunked. More likely, by ingesting softened/dissolved bones, you’re also ingesting whatever toxins and/or heavy metals the animal acquired during its lifetime. Although probably not a significant amount in most cases, it might not be the healthiest idea. Good nutritious broth, made with raw meat-on bones and root veggies, shouldn’t take any more than 3 to 4 hours.

  18. My joints have improved since drinking 12/1 cup beef broth per day; however, two weeks ago i developed terrible inflammation and pain along the outside of my knees…not within the joints but along exterior area in the tendons. Any comments?

  19. The reason for your headaches from bone broth can be for the following reasons:

    – Firstly, you have an overload of bacteria, viruses, fungal infections in your body that may include candida , h pylori etc. Which you haven’t been able to detect. the moment you eat something so high in nutrients such as bone broth, some sort of chain reaction sets out causing you these migraines and itches
    Solution: You HAVE TO DO A COLONIC CLEANSE and a FAST on Juices for atleast a month. Also look into MMS . I have used it and people say its toxic but bull shit to that .. It helped me clear out a lot of shit in my body

    – Please check your sugar levels once you have had bone broth. Sugar level spikes can cause lots of troubles

    – Finally go and get yourself a blood test for the following . LEAD CONTENT, ARSENIC CONTENT, CALCIUM LEVEL and other heavy metals including mercury etc. Bone broth has lots of lovely calcium and collagen etc.. but also the bones leach out metals that the animals may have been exposed to. The longer you boil the more is leached into the broth and it may be affecting you in some way

    Apart from this I cannot pinpoint any other possible reasons apart from stating the worst ones( which i dont wish to name as it will offset panic)

    I hope I have been helpful

  20. More media hype telling everyone that they will get lead poisoning from bone broth. I say drink up! Its healthy and delicious! I dont even bother making it though I get mine from a company called Au Bon Broth Bone Broth. Delivered straight to my door and organic. No more mess from cooking!

  21. Yes, Yes, Yes. Tell everyone that they will get lead poisoning from bone broth. That way all the stupid hipsters driving up the price of this delicious peasant food will move on to drive up the price of some other new food fad.

  22. Chris, this article, though informative, feels like it’s designed to waste people’s time. Before seeing this headline, I didn’t think lead in broth was an issue. After a couple minutes of reading, I’m now convinced I was justified in never having that worry to begin with. Keep striving for that career in Yahoo news. Click bait, though some of the higher quality click bait I’ve seen, I must admit. Thank you for the science.

  23. Hello from Denmark 🙂 Do any of you get headache from meat broth??? I have leaky gut and a mild histamine intolerance….also sensitive to gluten and dairy. My Health i getting worse and worse even though I eat more and more healty. Then i read then all these symptoms could come from leaky gut (the root of the problem) and of course I want to try to heal this. I tried bone broth, but got headache and irretatet skin….i was schratching my skin so hard that i got sores. Then I tried only simmering for 2 hours (organic chicken) with lots of vegetables also. I just poured a cup of this broth. A mild headache again…can almost feel a small lightning pain i my brain after each sip. What to do???????

      • Hi and thank you for your response 🙂

        I use a normal large Soup pot from a good Danish brand (raadvad). It is made of steel.
        I was thinking about the levels of histamine, can they be to high even if I dont let the broth simmer for more than 2 hours (chicken) or 4 hours (organic beefbones).???

        I really dont know where to start healing the leaky gut and all the other symptoms….it seems that I can not eat/drink anything 🙁


        • Then I guess it can’t be the pot …. and perhaps it is indeed the histamines.

          I suggest you have a look at GAPS and also ask questions in the GAPS Kids Facebok group – there are a lot of very experienced parents there, who have or are in the process of healing their childrens’ leaking guts. Lots of help and info there.

          Good luck!

        • Yes, probably histamines. Try the gaps diet and try a few days of fasting. If you cant Have bonebroth supplement with collagen, calciumn, magnesium and glutamin. you can also look up dr. axe website for a general overview on how to heal leaky gut. he also recommends GAPS.

          did you make a stool test? try to find out if you have an infection or dysbiosis you need to fix that as well…

          good luck

        • Janenne I think the problem might be that you are not cooking it long enough. Chicken bone should cook for 24hrs straight, Beef Bones 48hrs. You must cook this long in order to get all the nutrients out of the broth. Also be sure you are skimming the top for impurities. Wellnessmama has a fantastic recipe for broth. Worth goggling.

        • Hi Jannie, I recommend you getting in touch with Matt Stone at who has helped many people in your situation who are running out of things to eat. He also has a book ‘Diet Recovery 2’ which you may find helpful. Good luck

        • Have you read GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome? Leaky Gut is treatable and the book will explain why you might be having adverse reactions to broths. Good luck x

        • I also seem to have the same problem. I am allergic to most of the things. It all started with lactose intolerance about 10 years ago and within 2 years I was alergic to most of the foods like – milk, greens, few vegetables, some fruits, grains, rasins etc….I mean I cant have anything other than some rice and a few vegetables and fruits. Wondering if you had any luck with GAPS diet?

    • Can anyone tell me if it’s possible for stainless steel pot to leach metal into the broth, esp, since there is acidity from the vinegar in the broth? Many thanks!

      • Don’t think so Anna, SS pots of any reasonable quality should be completely non-reactive. This is why surgical instruments and prosthetics installed in the body use stainless.

        Clay, enamel and glass are also non-reactive. You have good options for boiling braising roasting and stews.

      • Yes, stainless steel does leach into your food. I am having a nickle reaction and that is the one things I can’t use. Vegetables also cause my rash so you might check into that. Not much out there on Nickle allergy but you can’t eat much but meat and potatoes.I’m still trying to find out more.

        • Yes, cooking with a stainless steal pot leaches nickel into the water. I switched to glass pots and plastic cutlery and it made a huge improvement!!!!! My effects from nickel are extreme fatigue, nausea, among other things. Drinking bentonite clay has helped chelate the nickel out of my body. Now working on the leaky gut and candida, and I believe that Celiac is my root problem. Blessings to all reading this. God bless, John 3:16

    • Jannie: Have you looked into mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings? That is if you have them or have had them in the past, or had some removed and replaced with with white without the correct protocol being used for your safety. There are various way of becoming toxic – teeth, vaccinations, food, air. Mercury can lead to leaky gut problems. You have to eliminate the source and get the mercury out of your body before your gut will heal. There is a lot of info on you tube about mercury toxicity.

      Then look into calcium bentonite clay for detoxing. I found a lot of info at and have learnt a lot from this site. I am in the process of a clay detox and amalgam removal.

      Only just mentioning this incase it is new to you. Hoping that maybe this could help you gain your health back sooner rather than later.

    • Jennie,
      its common problem in our family as after every chicken broth we found that we have headache and our grandma expained it like that: if you prepare the broth from rooster your head always feel ache, but hen broth is good without any headaches

    • Jannie

      And here’s where bone broth reveals a catch 22 while yes it does heal leaky gut it also will exacerbate a histamine intolerance 10 fold. Histamine intolerance is caused by leaky gut. Histamine intolerant people CANNOT eat slow cooked protein if you still can and are able to eat meat with a histamine condition it must be super FRESH and eaten IMMEDIATELY after cooking the longer meat sits the more histamine it releases hence why you are worse now after eating the broth. STAY AWAY from bone broth ….it’s sad because it is so nutritious but for people with a histamine intolerance it’s HORRIBLE!!!

      • Ups, my previous comment “Excellent analysis once again, Chriss” ! got inserted in the wrong place.
        To Dani Page, I would like to ask, if you have any references to you statement that “Histamine intolerant people CANNOT eat slow cooked protein – since the longer it cooks/sits the more histamine it releases” ? I seriously doubt you will find any scientific backing for your claim ! I think people in general should be more careful giving advices based on ideas !

    • Many times when you try a new twist in your eating habits, your body “detoxifies” and you actually feel worse, and get headaches as well, that is not say that your not having an allergic reaction, I would say keep a food diary, and carefully keep track of the reactions you are having, but continue what you are doing, if over time these symptoms get worse than of course discontinue, but if they start to subcide than more than likely you are going through the detox phase.

    • Jannie, I would suggest trying a probiotic for several months. I use to have a problem with all foods high in histamine and would get really bad headaches along with other side effects. After being on acidophilus for 3 months, all of my problems went away and I rarely get headaches. I do still avoid leftover pork and chicken but other than that I can eat anything.

    • Have you considered whether you have a fungal or parasite infection. Significantly likely if you have leaky gut and The itching skin may be a tell tale sign. Nikki

    • Hi Jannie,

      Sorry to hear that you have a leaky gut. I am new to making bone broth so I am not that experienced yet. There may be something else that can heal your leaky gut which I consume everyday and it is called “Kefir”. You can just buy the live Kefir grains on ebay, from a reputable seller, and make your own Kefir and drink it daily. This is 100 times better than any probiotic you can buy at a health food store. All you need is Kefir grains and organic milk. Start out slow with just 1/4 cup per day and work your way up. This is the best probiotic you can drink. Research it the health benefits are amazing. I hope you can figure out a way to continue to drink bone broth but if you can’t consume it, Kefir will help you. Good luck to you Jannie

  24. A lot of the stuff that’s getting posted here is simply heresay, someone read this or someone told someone. Or someonek heard something, a lot of posters are like blindfold people walking through a minefield. No science to back up any suggestion, it’s like the diderence between medical science and religious superstition, if you’re not 100 PC sure don’t bother posting stuff

  25. I guess to protect from contaminants in food we cant eat. To protect from contaminants in the air we can’t breathe. To protect from contaminants in water we can’t drink. Doing any of these will lead to death. So avoiding contaminants completely leads to death. You can’t avoid all contaminants, because that is a part of being alive. Just enjoy life, do what makes you feel healthy and strong and avoid stress by not worrying about every fricking possibility because stress isn’t good either. I could sit in my home everyday, staring at the sky through the window because there is a possibility that an airplane might land on my house, but would that be living?

  26. I have recently (as in the last 5 or 6 days) started drinking bone broth each day. I usually drink a big coffee mug of it when i get up and another before bed. I don’t feel much different other than he fact that I’m sweating almost non stop. My normal activities (Chasing around a 1 1/2 yr old) make me sweat PROFUSELY!! My hair and shirt will be soaked by the evening. I havrnt felt sick…just..puny. Is this normal?! Anyone else experienced this?

  27. My oldest daughter had lead testing when she was a year old and it was OK. When their levels tested high per blood test we had no other explanation. We never lived in an old house. Their school was not old. They did not mouth toys. the gaps diet was the only thing new. I will never know for certain but bone is a storehouse for lead.

    • Old houses are not the only source, I am afraid. WebMD writes:

      “Here’s what is surprising: pipes in very new homes are potentially a greater risk for lead. Some plumbers still use lead solder to join copper pipes, which exposes the water directly to lead. The risk is highest in houses that are less than five years old; after that, mineral deposits build up in the pipes that insulate the water from the lead in the solder. According to the EPA, you should assume that any building less than five years old has lead-contaminated water.” – find more at

      And perhaps there were old houses, where there are now new ones:

      “Lead in soils and dust in the environment has been, and will continue to be, a source of lead poisoning. The sources include flaking, chipping, or weathering paint: improper renovation of buildings and disposal of building materials; lead by the side of roads that has settled out from burned leaded gasoline; settled dust from industrial sources and lead around houses from lead paint that has been scraped off during the continuing repainting of the house.” – from “Lead Contamination In Our Environment”, by Carolyn Kinder at Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.

      Other sources include (from ):

      “Pottery. Glazes found on some ceramics, china and porcelain can contain lead that may leach into food.

      Toys. Lead is sometimes found in toys and other products produced abroad.”

      and also note that:

      “Lead was also once a key ingredient in paint and gasoline and is still used in batteries, solder, pipes, pottery, roofing materials and some cosmetics.

      There is also still leads in te exhaust of cars, see for instance:

      “Lead emissions from road transport in Europe: a revision of current estimates using various estimation methodologies.” – Sci Total Environ. 2009 Oct 1;407(20):5367-72. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.06.027. Epub 2009 Jul 21. – text at:

      And then there is all the lead accumulated before gasoline became “unleaded”; see:

      “Lead Concentrations, Isotope Ratios, and Source Apportionment in Road Deposited Sediments, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii”, by R. A. Sutherland, J. P. Day, J. O. Bussen, in Water, Air, and Soil Pollution January 2003, Volume 142, Issue 1-4, pp 165-186.

      All that said, it is obvious that lead is everywhere and that it can accummulate in bones. That means that where the animals roamed and found their food is indeed important, but proximity to major roads, building sites, sites of old houses, new plumbing with lead soldering, various kitchenware and utensils are just as likely – and for what concerns most people, probably more likely – sources of lead contamination.

      We live in a dirty world and lead in animal’s bones has to coe from somewhere – and think about it: Who is usually more directly exposed to lead in the environment, a grass-fed cow in, say, Montana or a child in a city criss-crossed by roads?

    • What kind of testing did you do? From Dr. L. Wilson (, it is known that some toxic substances were not expelled until some major improvement of the diet, when the organism gets enpugh force to detoxify and to show these hidden substances in the analyses. So, don’t be desperate: many tests don’t mean exactly “the more lead – the worse”.

  28. You wrote:
    If drinking water consistently throughout the day with lead levels of 15 µg/L (ppb) does not pose a problem for human adults (and children with the exception of infants drinking formula), then why would drinking 2-3 cups of bone broth with lead levels of 9.5 µ/L pose a problem? I don’t think it would.

    We have to drink water. The lead level will be 24.5 if we drink 2-3 cups of bone broth on top of the drink water. Is it a problem?

  29. Buy Whole Organic Chickens and/or Find a Farmer in your area, make sure he/she keeps their chickens healthy. Use SPRING WATER and ORGANIC Veggie when making the broth. STOP reading articles from this guy.

    Problem Solved.

  30. I would think the pros far outweigh the cons in this case as the lead would be in minute amounts at most.

    You are exposed to more lead in your drinking water, baths, showers, etc

    • That’s definitely a generalization. I drink, bathe, shower, wash clothes, wash dishes, etc, with water filtered to a very high degree of purity. I am concerned about contaminants of any kind in anything that’s within my awareness.

  31. In the study, organic chickens were used. As we know, organic chickens could be fed soy & corn. So i wonder if soy contains lead? Or even if each ingredient in the supplemental feed needs to be tested for lead first. If we are what we eat, then we need to look at what the animals are eating too, don’t we?

  32. I was also wondering Chris if you could comment on msg being formed when broth is boiled. Can you even bring your broth to a boil at the start and then simmer without forming msg’s. After it has cooled overnight I thought it was always safer to bring it to a boil again before simmering.
    Also would there be less or more lead if you drain the broth and continue to simmer it with new water. Could this be a solution to get rid of the first broth?

  33. My children were severely poisoned by lead while consuming lots of bone broth on GAPS diet. No other sources of lead were found. The broth was made from pastured bones and meat in a steel pot. This has been devastating. People need to stop discrediting main stream medicine for everything. Children’s lives can be ruined. Our environment is much more toxic than our grandparents. Not every food is perfect.

    • Just out of curiosity how do you know the lead in their body was from the broth? And did you do a metal test on your kids?

      You know mothers can pass metals to their children at birth?

  34. With regards to toxicity, what the EPA considers safe, and HOW it considers something safe, is highly objectionable at best, and flat out erroneous at worst. It becomes a matter of the blind leading the blind.

  35. Lead and other toxic metals are rapidly sequestered into tissues and therefore, blood levels of lead and other toxic metals are extremely misleading and are of little to no diagnostic value.

  36. Nice overview and thanks for that. Came across this as I was checking up on pork bone broth.

    It might be an occupational hazard, but as a trained philosopher I am however a little concerned about your choice of frame of reference when it comes to allowed lead levels. Why should anyone take these sources serious, when they are the same who are telling us to eat (whole)grains and fruit all day long? Why use one piece of information from them, when we know that industry largely dictates the contents of their advice? It is not good practice to pick a piece when it is suitable and reject the source in other contexts as fundamentally flawed and misguided. You can’t hold onto something at the same time as you are pusing it away – at least not for long, have you ever tried, often happens in relationships, for instance?

    Finally, to return to some positive critique, I think you are right to point out the environmental factor: where did the animal in question live and grow? What did it eat? And, in extension of that, does grain act as an accumulator of heavy metal, even if it is not grown with petrochemical agents?

    • Thanks for calling out Chris on citing sources he sometimes disdains and other times uses to support his arguments. I concur, too, on distrust of toxicity guidelines without knowing more about the underlying research.


    “To that end, we would like to announce the results of testing performed by The National Food Lab on bone broth from grass-fed beef and pastured chicken from California.65 These two broths were prepared in stainless steel soup pots by the Three Stone Hearth Co-op in Berkeley. As tested on February 14, 2013 at a Minimum Detection Level of 10 parts per billion and again on March 1, 2013 with an MDL of 5 parts per billion, the results were as follows:

    Grassfed beef broth. No lead detected
    Pastured chicken broth: No lead detected
    Reverse osmosis water: No lead detected”

  38. Melkat, I just think distilled water is bad from reading this…

    “Fasting using distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure. Cooking foods in distilled water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value.

    Distilled water is an active absorber and when it comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it acidic. The more distilled water a person drinks, the higher the body acidity becomes.”

    Perhaps it does not matter what water you use for broth as long as it is clean filtered water but I never drink distilled water, I always feel weird when I drink it. Just my thoughts…

    • Mercola frequently publishes information of dubious quality. When I read something about making the body more acidic or alkaline, I know it’s BS.

  39. Hi! Just curious to hear what the results were on the pasture raised chicken broth. Any news?? Thanks for writing this!

  40. I wouldn’t worry about the lead levels in bone broth. Humans encounter toxins every day from car fumes, pollution, tap water, cigarette smoke, or just breathing. The human body is very resilient in detoxifying (even with a poor diet) so this is why one must consume lots of green vegetables etc that can detox the body. This study (I quickly read it) fails to note the quality of water used and contamination levels or Volatile Organic Compounds present in the water. Tap water (I NEVER consume/use for cooking because the injected fluoride, chlorine, lead, pharmaceuticals, etc present in the water.

    When cooking stock, always use filtered mineral water or water undergone Reverse Osmosis (NEVER use distilled). Simple carbon filters filter very little and many contaminates still pass through the carbon and this is why one should use a system with an RO membrane (with carbon filters) as many contaminate molecules are too large to penetrate through the RO membrane.

    Only realize the bone broth you consume is very beneficial to the human body and the there are many health benefits such as helping/treating skin disorders and myriad of other ailments. It is liquid bone marrow you are drinking after all 🙂

  41. I may need to retread your post and analysis in case I missed it, but were they all cooked for the same amount of time on the same heat? Presumably the water (control) boiled off as much as the broths did, so the concentration of the tap water and its original contents stayed the same across all of the variables?

  42. I recently started making bone broth. I’ve started only with chicken broth. I’ve made four batches and the last three times, I’ve gotten headaches that start after I eat the broth and continue for a couple days. I noticed I had a headache probably the second time I made broth and thought maybe there could be a correlation. I want to keep making broth (because of the health benefits, and it’s also good, useful and healthier than packaged broth/stock), but I also wanted to see if I got headaches again, and yes it did happen each time I’ve made broth. I didn’t use the cheapest chicken, but it also wasn’t ‘pastured chicken’. I used organic chicken from Trader Joe’s and also tried another type from Whole Foods. Yeah, the chickens get some corn and soy feed, I’m sure, and likely aren’t outside much if at all. I know ‘pastured’ chicken is the best, but it’s really hard to find and very pricey (seems that pasture-raised chicken is more expensive than grass-fed/finished beef). I used legs and thighs to make the broth, but I assume pastured chicken parts are also expensive, if even available.

    I want to keep making broth, but I’m concerned now that I’ve experienced these strange headaches after consuming this broth (I used reverse osmosis filtered water, btw). I will read through comments here and see if I can glean any info., but I’m a little hesitant to keep making broth. May need to try to find better chicken?

      • Jen, have you been blood tested for food allergies? My daughter is intolerant of soy at a moderate level. And she gets severe abdominal distress and headaches with soy consumption. It would be worth checking out.

  43. Instead f lead you should me worried amount the fact the bone broth has very little or no calcium in it. Do your research, people. Even if you buy canned bone broth/stock there is little to no calcium unless fortified. The bioavailability of calcium from making bone stock is next to zero, even if you add wine/vinegar to the pot. Sorry, I know the truth hurts sometimes.

  44. Maybe consuming 2-3 cups @ 9.4ppb is not unhealthy, but you gain minute lead exposure from several other sources as well. If you add that to a water supply that is 7.5ppb, and other environmental exposures, it can add up.

  45. What do you think about the grassfed gelatin powder from Great Lakes? It comes from the skin, connective tissue, and bones of animals.

  46. While it is beneficial to thoroughly analyze “scientific” studies, and to benefit from people like Chris (Thank you!) who can shed the light of his knowledge on them, there is NO benefit in excess STRESS (as I’m sure you’ve heard multiple times). So, I really must share something with you that can ease one’s mind immensely – I speak from experience here. Perhaps you’ve heard about some people taking a daily dose of clay, and if so, perhaps you thought they were nuts, or something. However, when I heard about it, I began to research the subject. I can’t share even the half of what I’ve learned here – it would simply be too lengthy and time consuming – but I can assure you that if you look into it for yourselves, it can go a long ways toward alleviating stress over every concerning “scientific” study. You see, a pure food grade calcium bentonite clay – taken internally on a daily basis – has the ability to adsorb and absorb acids/toxins and carry them out of the body. It seems that elements that do not nourish our bodies fall into the acids/toxins categories, but the healthful elements do not. Now doesn’t that sound like a good way to alleviate excess stress about reports like these? If you would like a simple launching pad for such research, you could start here at my collection of pinnable information on the subject: I must tell you that I will receive no gratuity of any kind whatsoever, except for the knowledge that what I’ve researched and shared may be of some value to someone besides myself. Good health to you all!

  47. One has to wonder with all this gene testing, if there isn’t an unusual nutrient need that would solve the problem of something like sulfur accumulating with a certain gene – though may it just reflects individual differences, so that some folks need more meat and other do better with less meat and more veggies. Dr. Gonzalez tells the story of how Dr. Kelley cured his cancer with a specific diet and supplement protocol, but it didn’t work for his wife’s illness at all – she needed just the opposite routine. Wish I could find that story online.

    And this from Sara Pope:
    If you’ve been worried about the lead in organic chicken broth study from January, Kaayla Daniel has a bone or two to pick with it. You won’t be worried anymore after reading this:

    • Kris, I tried to respond, but my long response did not show up explaining this. if you go on youtube search for Dr. Neil Rawlins 4 part video on Mthfr, he explains how BPA & other environmental toxins is suspected in causing MTHFR. Also, many people who have MTHFR, also have CBS gene mutation, which disrupts the ability to properly eliminate SULFUR. Therefore, it can very dangerous for these people (and me) to eat foods high in Sulfur and supplements like MSM. Ammonia and build up causing more side effects and actually very severe issues for some. Also, go to MTHFR SUPPORT .com and see more links Sterling Hill has posted including other genes like CBS that must be addressed before treating MTHFR. Speeding detoxification can create more severe symptoms & anxiety & nerve irritation if CBS is not draining properly or allowing proper elimination. When treating those of us with 11 gene mutations with certain nutrients, makes it difficult when addressing one and another pathway does not work, like a clogged highway.

      • You have me confused. One minute MTHFR is the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, the next minute it’s the deficiency of the enzyme, and then again it may be the mutated MTHFR gene. Actually my daughter has a mutation of that gene, which can cause a problem if she doesn’t get enough folate. So we’re back to fine tuning the diet to what works for you individually. We’re really playing Russian roulette pouring all these strange modern chemicals into our environment, producing heaven only knows what damage to our health! And now we’re pouring all kinds of money info gene research, and the drug companies are probably hoping to come up with a nice profitable drug to salve the problem, meanwhile ignoring the valuable research of the likes of Dr. Kelly, Dr. Price, and the many other renegade doctors who are more interested in nutritional healing than drugs.

        • Hi Kris, MTHFR = Enzyme, like you listed above. MTHFR gene mutation is the deficiency of this MTHFR enzyme and there are two main types of this mutation that can cause hypermethylation or hypomethylation (slow or too fast) if i understand it correctly. There are hundreds of other different mutation forms, but current labs only test for a handful. …. Yes, it’s confusing and yes all those chemicals, like BPA causing our DNA harm and GMOs on a whole new level. Sterling Hill, Tim Jackson, Sean and other Practitioners on MthfrSupport on Facebook really are VERY helpful and teaching other doctors, nutritionists and patients non-stop and have a list of local Doctors in your area that understand how to treat Methylation issues like MTHFR. Ben Lynch on FB is another good Doc to follow on this. One way, I learned we can see hyper and hypomethylation is most noticeable with caffeine users. Some hypermethylators can consume a pot of coffee before bed and go right to sleep. Others get jitters, irritable, sweaters with only a little. Methylation issues affect our Liver detoxification phases. ~~MTHFR is hereditary and if your daughter has it, she either has one or two copies that came from you or both of her parents. methyl-B12 and folate are important for her. Glad she is getting help. My lab recommended the rest of my family be tested too, siblings included. Hope that helps.

  48. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing the results from the next study you mentioned by Jessica Prentice, testing their Pasture Raised chickens. Please share that too!!! 🙂 Inquiring minds are waiting

    “Jessica Prentice, one of the worker-owners of the Three Stone Hearth community-supported kitchen in Berkeley, CA, has sent samples of their bone broth in to get tested for lead. They make their broth with pasture-raised chickens, so we’ll have at least one example of lead levels in pastured chicken broth to draw from.”

  49. Thanks, Chris. I too, will be interested in following this.
    But I have to question, like Jamil Avdiyev above, about the COOKWARE. I had a scientist friend who started her son on broths using the vinegar soak method. He regressed with all sorts of inflammatory and neurologic symptoms (he haa autism). She had the broth analyzed and it turned out to have metal contamination (I don’t recall the metals but can find out). Turns out her “good quality” stainless steel stockpot was not such good quality. She made the broth in enameled ceramic and he did fine, though she did not have it tested.
    The vinegar might be leaching the metals in some pots. Do crockpots have lead ? It is so hard to know these days what reallly is good quality….

    • Lisa, YES I have heard they do! some brands more than others. if you google you will read which ones. I too was tested HIGH in Lead, Aluminum, Cadmium, Mercury… and i used to make a lot of chicken soup over the past few yrs. I also just found out I have MTHFR, a gene mutation,which causes sluggish liver detox (enzyme deficiency) and we cannot convert typical synthetic folic acid or cynacobalamin B12 into a useable form for the body to absorb. Excess folic acid left in the body is toxic. We MUST have methyl forms, which are pre-converted (methyl-folate and methyl-cobalamin). Autism is also linked to MTHFR. Visit MthfrSupport on facebook.

        • Hi Crosswind, I’m glad you posted this. I have the gene mutation too and haven’t heard of its links with enzyme deficiencies (I’ve had a stool test suggest my pancreatic enzymes aren’t being secreted all that well…), so the links with the gene is something I will look into… My b12 levels are fine, same with homocysteine, and I am under the impression that this signals that the gene may not be ‘active/expressing’ at this time anyway/ie is dormant.

          By the way, in principle if one doesn’t ingest folic acid, which is synthetic, there isn’t going to be problem with toxicity… Unless one is chugging B complex pills (which AFAIK has not been strongly associated even with bringing down homocysteine levels eg when they are elevated and gene expressive), I don’t see what there is to be worried about in this regard. Best to folate form the diet etc, eat some liver too 🙂



          • People with CBS gene (many people with MTHFR) cannot eat meat (including Liver), until the CBS pathways is regulated otherwise sulfur builds up, therefore ammonia builds up too. It’s a COMPLEX issue.

            • This is too much of a generalisation. I have CBS and managed to get it under control just fine while consuming meat. I avoided other dietary sources of sulfur completely though. Other mutations will conspire with CBS to make it more or less difficult, so you can’t say with certainty what everybody will need. There are also different severities of CBS up-regulation.

              Even people with high Ammonia seem to be OK eating one protein meal a day of about 3oz.

              It’s also important to support the Sulfite Oxidase enzyme in the process, to make sure sulfate is coming out and sulfites aren’t building up.

  50. As a long time student of ayurveda, one of my teachers once said: If a little is good, a little is good. People consuming large amounts of anything could be causing harm to themselves. Our view that if a little is good, then a lot is better is incorrect. Dosage is important to consider when embarking on any healing journey.

  51. H Chris,

    I’d like to point out as well that conventional chicken bones can contain a lot of fluoride. for someone doing GAPS, who is drinking bone broth a lot, it can result in a lot of fluoride. The fluoride accumulates moreso in the bones of smaller animals like chicken, and especially because they are fed grains which are sprayed with fluorine.

    The US EPA just banned using methyl bromide as a preservative, due to greenhouse gas concerns, and so the industry moved to sulfuryl fluoride.

    Canned and boxed broths use water that has already been fluoridated, and chicken bones, and then the fluoride concentrates more because with simmering, fluoride remains in the water.

    As someone who loved chicken broth in all shapes and forms and drank lots of tea, thinking I was healthy, I am now paying the price.

  52. While I do have the occasional cup of bone broth, I’m not nearly consuming 2-3 cups a day. I think as long as you’re making your broth from cage free, farmer raised chickens (or cows) you should be fine. There’s so much negative news and studies being thrown around all of the time and I feel like it mostly just confuses people. Not saying that was the author’s intention… just an opinion in general. It’s good to be informed but some of the information that gets passed around on social media is best to be ignored.

  53. I just finished making a long simmered beef broth. I used to cook it 12-24 hours. Now I follow the Weston A Price recommendations of up to 72 hours. It does get more glutinous with the longer simmer.
    Then I go and read this post and it gets so confusing. However, I have been making broth since the 70’s from bones and seems to have done me no harm.

  54. The allowable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for lead of 15 micrograms/liter is not the same as the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG), which is zero for lead. For an explanation of significance of MCL versus MCLG, see
    from which the following is copied:
    Definitions: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) – The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals. Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards. .

    • What is the cookware being used? The lead may be colloidal, organically derived if it comes from the bones. Have the studies differentiated between colloidal and metallic form? This is of significant importance. Getting your iron from chewing nails is not the same as getting it from grapes.

      In addition to Chris’ suggestions, Joel Wallach, mentions in his book Rare Earths Forbidden Cures that one way of dealing with excessive lead levels from a nutritional standpoint is to take a trace mineral rich food like seaweed or humic shale.

      I question the basic assumptions of this study in part, such as the safe levels of colloidal lead in the food, if they are indeed colloidal. Weston Price studied people who ate food with substantially higher levels of vitamins and minerals relative to today’s real foods. A number of different studies have shown trace minerals have plummeted in the food supply. See I think we need to look at the balance of ALL minerals in a food. The problem is there is a lack of balance because of unbalanced soils and environmental toxicities.

      Maynard Murray through his experiments showed trace mineral fertilization from the sea increases plant and animal health. See Fertilizing with sea solids means food will by default have higher lead content because lead has been in the sea for thousands of years. So what? Did Americans suffer from lead poisoning 200 years ago when the soil was virgin and thus plants had high mineral and hence lead content? Keep in mind the biology was better so minerals like lead were more available to the plants, helping increase the density of minerals like lead in food.

      If you live in the city you are exposed to lead in the air and from so many toxic sources. So this may be one more to add to the list. Intelligent detoxification such as clay, zeolite, sauna baths, drinking distilled water, etc. will prevent toxic lead sources from accumulating.

  55. Some articles on lead,0
    Modern American adults carry 600 to 1000 times the lead levels in their bones than 19th century Americans mostly thanks to tetra-ethyl lead in our gas. That lead is no longer being spewed into the air, but has settled to the ground and is still with us. And for those over 35 you are stuck with the 6-10 points in IQ you lost thanks to Dupont, GM, Everett Sloan and Kettering.
    Lead levels in food will vary depending on the animal, the soil where it lived, the food it ate, the water it drank, and the air it breathed. As is clear from the posts to this blog all animals incorporate and eliminate differently on an individual basis.The same species on the same farm will show differences and different areas on the same farm will show differences as will water. What I am saying that no testing of any broth will have the same results as broth made from bones of a different animal even though the animals were raised on the same farm. Lead is impossible to avoid, you can only mitigate.
    To protect your children from more lead than is inevitable keep outside dirt outside. Remove your shoes keep pets outside or inside Children are on the floor and put everything in their mouth so clean frequently. For lead and other toxic metals you should detoxify constantly and for the rest of your life
    My regimen includes a juice cocktail of different vegetables, that always includes garlic, cilantro and chlorella which will bind to any toxic metals excreted in bile and keep at least a portion of it from being reabsorbed. If you have yeast overgrowth, you may get a reaction from the die off. It has worked well for me. I was diagnosed with lead and mercury poisoning and have been able to regain almost all my cognitive abilities, minus, of course, that lost during my childhood in the ’40’s and ’50’s.

    • For people who have “silver” amalgam mercury dental fillings they are mostly exposed to mercury via their dental fillings, and not fish, though fish is definitely a contributing factor to mercury toxicity. The so called amalgam fillings are actually 50% mercury.

      If anyone decides to have amalgam fillings removed, they should first research the information on websites such as The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, the largest holistic dental association in the United States and internationaly. The IAOMT has developed protocols so one’s exposure to mercury vapor is reduced, since drilling the filling releases a lot of mercury vapor which the patient breathes if they are not offered protection. It is very dangerous having the fillings replaced by conventional dentists since they are not taught in dental school to take special precautions while removing mercury fillings.

      If you are considering replacing any of your mercury fillings, you can contact the non profit patients support group DAMS, Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions for more information. There are also other dental materials that are also quite toxic and contribute to assaults against the immune system.

      DAMS educates the public on toxic dentistry, helps with phone counseling, helps people find a safe biological dentist, and what issues may be involved with mercury toxicity and how it can impact your health. You can call and ask for an information packet. DAMS also publishes a publication called Dental Truth.

      I am providing a link to an IAOMT article “The Scientific Case Against Amalgam.” If the link does not work in the future, you can search for the name of the article and IAOMT.

  56. Hi Chris
    Do you have a recipe for bone broth? I made my first batch last week, I love it but want to get the best nutrition from it I boiled the bones (mixture of beef lamb and chicken) for 24 hrs, I have just read to boil beef for 72hrs. Thankyou

  57. While they’re testing, I hope that they analyze the levels of useful minerals, as well. It would be nice to know what a traditionally prepared broth has for calcium and magnesium, as well as those other supplements like glucosamine, chondritin, and collagen. I hate that the best source of information we have is Campbell’s.

  58. Thanks for this Chris, I would be interested in your follow up posts following retesting.
    I drink a bowl of bone broth most days made from Water Buffalo bones as got to know the farmer, pastured grass fed, (apparently very hardy so no need for antibiotics etc) just have occasional turnip for a treat. I do keep it cooking continually for days, just topping up with filtered water as use and cooking W.Buffalo braising steak, removing for the meal. Now concerned re mention of glutamates as had previously thought this broth ideal for healing leaky gut, joint issues and getting minerals naturally.

  59. I just bought soup bones from grass fed bison raised in western South Dakota. I would think in the open spaces of the Dakotas there would be much less environmental lead than in more populated areas.

  60. Hi Chris, what do you think of the views expressed in the below article concerning the status of ingesting selenium and mercury concurrently? It seems to be that the protective benefits of selenium against the development of mercury toxicity are not pronounced. This could be particularly problematic for people who have compromised digestive processes, for whom consumption of a lot of mercury laden fish could conceivably increae the risk of developing toxic ratios…


  61. Oh, this is the first time I’ve come across people having problems with glutamate … I’ll do some Internet research.

    Mary Ann, allergy tests are often useless because they are not accurate or specific!

  62. I made beef bone broth for the first time last week and I felt extremely nauseous after only half a mug. I tried again the following day with the same results. I don’t think that high amounts of lead or any other metal would have been the cause of this.
    I didn’t scrape off the layer of fat at the top, just stirred it in and drank. Might this be why? I have no problems eating fatty cuts of meat.
    Why would something, seemingly so good for you, be rejected so vehemently by the body?

  63. Beef broth makes me feel nauseous – horrible actually. I’d love to be able to eat it. If it’s making me feel this way should I even persist? What would be causing this?

  64. It’s a shame then for the chickens (isn’t it?) that they are not being fed a diet to protect against lead toxicity/build-up in their bones.
    If the chickens are not being fed a protective diet then…I’ll skip the chickens thanks al the same. 🙂

  65. For those who say they are sensitive to gelatin, it might be worth doing blood work to see if you have a true allergy. Gelatin allergy is actually common (there was an outbreak in Japan) because it is used an ingredient in vaccines. The adjuvant in the vaccine can sensitize you to the gelatin and cause subsequent allergic reactions. Unfortunately.

    • Mary Ann, your comment reminds me of the fact that isolated nutrients can cause far more problems than the whole food(s) they’re taken from. Whole foods, properly raised, are nutritionally synergistic, whereas, isolates are stripped of that functionality and benefit. That is true of many food components. Another example that I was thinking of is caffeine, which is far more detrimental as an isolate than as a normal part of coffee or tea (it can even lead to caffeine poisoning). Part of that is because the isolate is added to things in higher amounts than one would likely ever consume in coffee or tea. Just because man can isolate something, doesn’t mean he should. IMO. Thanks!

      • Sorry, I meant to say too, in regard to the benefits of foods being synergistic: Remember some years back when eggs were villainized because of their cholesterol content? Well, some years later someone finally discovered that because of the lecithin that eggs also contain, the synergistic effect is that eggs are a healthy food.

  66. Thanks Chris! My thoughts were similar about the concentrations observed. It’s the dose that makes the poison and not necessarily the concentration. Also, the dosage to cause effects has wide variations among individuals. Your explanation about the interaction with other nutrients makes good sense in accounting for this variation. There is too much evidence, even if it’s mostly anecdotal, that bone broth is a healing and nutritious food. A better scientific study would be to compare the health outcome of those treated with bone broth versus those treated with a placebo. But who will pay for this study???

  67. Since my water is filtered to take .99 of everything out (including fluoride) then I am not consuming the 0.89 µg/L in my 8 glasses of water per day. Evidently, that amount is acceptable for everyone to drink on a daily basis. Also, I use the filtered water for my broth so that would bring the lead content down by 0.89 µg/L. So, if I drink a mug or two of broth a day I am on par with those not drinking broth but drinking the “safe” tap water PLUS I have the nutrients of the broth. I am ok with that trade off. We rarely drink any water but our own filtered water and have plenty of glass bottles and jars to take with us when not at home.
    This does bring up up a good point of making sure that one eats from several different farms when possible as animals/produce from each will have a slightly different nutrient profile based on the ground, vegetation, farming practices, breeds, etc., of that particular farm. The same holds true with pollutants and toxins: they will vary from farm to farm and region to region, their land use history and local industries. We buy from several different farms in roughly a 200 mile radius, some to the north, east and south of us. We also make sure we are eating a variety of animals. Again, they will each have their own nutrient profile as well as pros/cons. The majority of the meat we eat is beef and chicken but we make sure to also have lamb, some pork, turkey, bison, deer, elk, duck and goose. We have some of these seasonally and some of these only several times throughout the year due to expense but we do try to have a variety. Lastly, we make sure we eat a variety of cuts. We eat the whole bird, a variety of cuts of the rest as each cut has its own nutrient profile.
    I share these ideas as they go along with not over doing any one food, even if it is nutrient dense. Eg. beef liver is awesome but too much will probably leave you with too much copper. Eating all beef cuts proportionately (how often would a farm family have eaten a liver 100 yrs ago? At most a couple times a year as only so much liver per cow and only a few butchered each year per family.) But eating the liver is great and then eating the roasts will even out the trace minerals.
    Same thing with the lead content – I am hoping! A variety of well raised animals from a variety of locations, eating a variety a cuts and not overdoing any one food, such as broth, over too long of a period and reducing toxins from all unnecessary sources (food is a necessary source!) and it should work itself out….right?
    Thanks for the article. I had already read the study and had become concerned! Glad you thought about it and helped me reason through this issue!

    • I eat liver at least once a month, sometimes twice or three times a month. My plasma copper level recently tested was at the low end of the normal range 14.8 umol/L {11.0-22.0} (zinc was just outside of the lower end of the range 9.1 umol/L {10.0-17.0). I know a RBC measurement would be more accurate but it’s not often tested for around here.

  68. I like your points. Why would anyone go to the trouble of testing this? There are big problems out there. No need to conjure something up. It’s like a war aginst health. I wonder if the chicken used in the testing was free-range and what they were fed. Is this info correct? It looks like the broth made w/ skin and cartilage & no bone has more lead than bone broth.
    chicken-bone broth: 7.01 µg/L
    bone broth from chicken meat (without bones): 2.3 µg/L
    bone broth made from skin and cartilage off the bone: 9.5 µg/L
    control (tap water): 0.89 µg/L
    You taught me something new about the relationship between mercury and selenium.

  69. I think the “more is not necessarily better” applies to just about anything these days. I think I’ll continue to NOT drink bone broth daily but use it for my soups and stews as I’ve always done.

    On another note… I notice that nobody seems to make broth from pork bones. Why? Is it because pigs don’t sweat and so accumulate more toxins, which will be released into broth?

    • Oh, yes – when I make pea soup I always simmer the ham hock first to make broth to cook the peas in. And all the pork chop bones, etc. go into the stock pot.

      One question I have is how does one standardize the soup making method to make the results comparable since the proportion of bones etc to water can vary so much? Also remember that the figure are per liter, but most folks don’t consume nearly that much in a day.

  70. I have had reactions to beef bone broth that were not pleasant. One cup a day brought on diarrhea. Stopped and tried again. Same thing a few weeks later. It is intense. I used pastured/grass fed bones. Biochemical Individuality has a lot to do with reactions. I now cook with organic legs/thighs for broth and am Ok even with 2 cups a day. After bringing to a boil I only simmer for 4 hours. That helps and maybe would reduce exposure to lead that results in long term cooking of bones. I have found the chicken broth soothing and healing. (this method also gives you a soft, delicious,and easily digested chicken meat)

  71. We started making lots of bone broth this winter and love it; however, every time I eat it, my face breaks out. I’m 58 and this is definitely tied to the bone broth because once I stop eating it my skin heals up in a day or so. I use organic chicken or grass-fed beef and have a reaction to both. I’ve read that it may have something to do with the fluoride in the bones. Any ideas, Chris? Thanks

    • Hi, I have the same problem with getting a rash after consuming the bone broth that I make from pastured animals from a local farm, totally organic GMO free etc. I was wondering if it was some sort of detox reaction. For example when taking iodine to detox bromides it is common to get a rash. If there is a detox rash from bone broth, just what am I detoxing? Any thoughts anyone? Also am going to try K2 as that was an important companion nutrient to iodine during that detox.

  72. There is no safe level of lead. It’s a bioaccumulator which does damage at any level.

    You need to compare the benefits of the dietary change against the downsides of slow heavy metal toxicity.

    Here is what the ACCLPP voted to present to the CDC based on their new report:
    “Based on new information as well as new understanding of old data, the committee’s report asserts that there is no safe lead level for children — that many of the consequences of early lead exposure are irreversible. The adverse effects extend beyond the neurodevelopmental realm into cardiovascular, immunological, and endocrine effects. The report documents numerous studies that show the negative effects of lead levels as low as five.”


  73. About a year ago I decided to do a fast using bone broth so I had a lot of it. I ended up with diarrhea so severe, I passed out on the toilet, but not before I called to my husband and he was able to catch me, fortunately. I thought I had an intestinal bug, but couldn’t figure out how I would get one since I never go to restaurants. That’s right – never. Anyway, the diarrhea continued less severely when I started eating again, but didn’t go away because I was still having broth. After about a week I went to my Chinese medicine guy and he said cut way back on the broth – too rich. Then I read something On Paul Jaminet’s site to indicate more is not necessarily better so now I just cook my vegetables in small amounts of bone broth and don’t have any trouble. I can tell I’m more sensitive to beef broth than chicken.

  74. Thanks Chris, could the lead be leaching from the crock pot in which the bone broth is being cooked in? Isn’t that a possibility? I have been concerned about lead in the first place as I cook a lot of food in my crock pot & I do drink a cup of bone broth per day. Thanks!

    • No, because they used a control where they just simmered the water in the cookware, and the lead levels were far lower in the water than in the broth. That suggests the lead is coming from the skin, cartilage and bones of the chicken — which makes sense, since lead is known to accumulate in the bones of animals and humans.

      • Actually, it might not be as simple as that.

        The bone broth has all sorts of compounds in it, that water does not. If there is lead in the glazing of a crockpot, it is possible that broths, especially if you add acids like vinegar/lemon juice/kombucha could leach stuff out that plain water doesn’t.

        Some cheap cast irons – from you know where – can also have lead in them that could leach out, under certain conditions.

        To really test this, the bone broth would need to be cooked side by side in a crock pot, and a non lead vessel.

        All that said, I think we are splitting hairs here – it’s just not a problem.

      • Dear Chris,

        Great article. Thanks for writing it. Can you confirm from the study that the number of chickens used in this “experiment” was one; that they used the skin, cartilage and bones from one chicken to make three broths?


  75. can we test the calcium and other minerals along with the protein assay of the bone broth? Both Lamb/ chicken would be interesting to quantify what actually goes into the water? A

  76. Thanks Chris, your an invaluable source of high quality information as always…

    I have the same question as a lot of people do. I also understand you don’t have the answer right now but an update, when you do find out, would be great!

    I always use ethically/pasture raised cow or lamb for my broth, any thoughts on bone lead levels of these animals?! Or does it again come down to nutrient density and benefits out weighing the toxic negatives…

    Thank you.
    Peter O.

  77. Chris,
    Under IRON….”In humans, low iron status of adults has been reported to increase gastrointestinal absorption of iron”. Did you mean to say absorption of iron…… or lead? I don’t understand the statement. Thank you for the article.

    • The first link is comparing broth with milk or human milk as baby’s food so emphasis is on the protein and calories. We all know we are not looking at broth as a major energy source. The second link is a discussion about how to evaluate broth nutrient, which is kind of blank area. I would say bone broth are nutritious and we just do not have a measured number yet how good. Do not want people get distracted by your comments.

  78. Here we go again: mainstream medical science warning us away from yet another nutrient dense food. Haven’t they done enough damage telling us to avoid saturated animal fats, cholesterol, organ meats, raw milk, seafood, oh- but make sure you eat plenty of whole grains and lowfat soy milk. Be sure you eat lots of heart healthy canola oil and wonderful soy, and corn oil. So good for you. (They have nothing but the most sincere concern for our health and welfare.) Don’t forget to use plenty of hand sanitizer to get rid of all those scary germs while you are at it. Maybe take a prophylactic antibiotic between meals. Needless to say, keep up on your flu vaccines – every 6 months now! Pfffffffllllllllptttt!!!

    Thanks Chris for the article.

    • Your comments are refreshing after reading this article and all the paranoia about a healthy alternative to use in homemade soups. isn’t that better than supermarket soups and stock?

    • WELL SAID………you forgot the raw milk the banned.
      Why isn’t alcohol and cigarettes banned…doesn’t make any sense

      • It makes a lot of sense. It is a perfect scenario. As our old friend Terence used to say, quoting from memory:

        All cultures define themselves by the drugs they promote and the drugs they prohibit. Sugar, alcohol, and tobacco are perfect assembly line drugs, they are the drugs of capitalism. So, it makes perfect sense.

        • Not capitalism. Fascism perhaps. Genuine capitalism would leave the farmer and his customers to produce and consume raw milk unmolested to their hearts content!

  79. I use a pressure cooker to make stock from free-range chicken bones and cartilege (as well as eating the trimmings of meat from the carcas after the stock has cooled). I wonder if the extra heat generated by the presssure cooker is detrimental?

  80. Interesting article!

    What about if they used distilled water or filtered water instead of tap water? Does that change the results? I have always been instructed not to use tap water when I make chicken broth so would like to see it tested with filtered water.

    • Probably not much. They used a tap water control in this experiment, and the levels of lead in that were 0.89 µg/L. That suggests most of the lead was coming from the cartilage, skin and bones of the chicken.

  81. Also, it said the study was done with ‘organic chickens’ not pastured chickens. I’m thinking that lead amounts might fluctuate significantly depending upon where and how the chickens are raised.

    • Yes, I mentioned that in the article. Jessica Prentice from Three Stone Hearth is having their pasture-raised chicken broth tested, so we’ll soon find out what lead levels are like in at least one sample.

  82. The reason that bone broth gives some people a headache is because of the high gelatin content (which, of course is one of the reasons we consume it – it is healing and nutritious). Gelatin is very high in histamines which as we know can cause various reactions esp. migraine headaches. I stopped consuming bone broth for several months, worked on healing my gut in other ways, and now find that I can tolerate smaller amounts of bone broth. Sometimes I take a histame capsule which seems to neutralize the effects of too much histamine.

      • Yes, I’ve heard it’s more common to react to the glutamate in broth if one has a leaky gut. For most people, this is not a problem. I’m sensitive to MSG and get splitting headaches when I (used to) eat it, but eat bone broth regularly and have never had an issue.

        • I am using homemade bone broth to heal my leaky gut, but get a small headache each time I drink it. As far as I know, I used “clean” beef bones, so it shouldn’t contain MSG (right?) and the gelatin isn’t very high (doesn’t get very jello-y when it’s chilled). Any ideas what else could be causing the problem?

      • @LAURIE ~ Thank you!

        @CHRIS ~ Thank you! So, is it still beneficial to make soup with (grass fed beef or pasture chicken) WITHOUT bones? I have leaky gut and I’m very sensitive to MSG and I have high lead in my heavy metal test. I took a break from all meat/bones for a few months. I used to make a lot of crockpot one soups and cook for hours. I want to start introducing with shorter cook time and no bones to see how that is for some amino acids. I wonder is GELATIN from beef AND poultry both high in histamine?

        • Hi Crosswind – I just found out I have leaky gut. It has been a horrible past 7 weeks! My brain has felt cloudy and like I have been on some drug trip intermittently. Doctors had no idea what was wrong with me. I thought maybe I have IBS, cancer, ulcer, parasite etc… All blood and stool tests came back great, so they have no diagnosis. While at the butcher shop, couple of days ago, I was telling the butcher my symptoms and he said “same thing happened to me years ago. Doctors have no clue about leaky gut cause there is no pill to prescribe. you have leaky gut”.

          I’m interested in what foods you are able to consume and symptoms you had in the beginning. The bone broth seems to be helping. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Laurie,

      Are you kidding me? I incorporated the “healing and nutritious” homemade broths and a TBLS of gelatin in OJ, in hopes of healing my gut, but they could be contributing to my other issues with histamine, like hives, etc. I feel like throwing up my arms, because this is just getting so frustrating. It seems like everything we eat has it’s side effects! I’m wondering how you discovered this. I read Chris’ article on migraines and hives, etc. is it due to the long slow cooking process and leftovers? How are you healing your gut in other ways? Curious. Thanks!

    • Hi

      Several months ago I incorporated weekly crockpot bone broths into my families diet. I can’t confirm whether it was the primary reason, since I’ve been incorporating lots of other healthy dietary and exercise practices into our lives, but my osteo-arthritic knees felt better. And I’m playing ice hockey on the weekends with the kids (which is unbelievable to me)
      Anyway in order to step up the gelatin intake (N=1) I purchased the regular (ie NON-hydrolysate) Great Lakes gelatin.
      After some reading I found that the Hydrolysate variant is probably the appropriate one for my condition, although the kids love using the NON-hydrolysate product for home made “Jellos” 🙂
      In an attempt to test the effects (and hopefully some skin toning) I started adding two tablespoons of the NON-hydrolysate gelatin to my regular diet.
      Both, my wife and I got nauseous twice.
      Last night, after a particularly exercise filled weekend I had a few cups of home made 48 hr bone broth, some of my kids jello and a tablespoon of NON-hydrolysate gelatin before going to sleep.
      Soon afterward (ie 30 minutes) I encountered what appeared to be a recurrence of my long lost migraines (ie., blindness in my eye, followed by crushing headache at night and vomiting this morning). Throughout the day I was shivering and had a few episodes of serious diarrhea. This is similar, though much more severe, than a similar episode last week (ie no blindness or vomiting but general weakness and shivering).

      Therefore my question is whether this sounds like an allergic reaction to gelatin. I considered that perhaps I haven’t had migraines because I have been eating less foods that have glutemates (MSG). Anyway it’s just a guess and at this point I’m ready to throw out the gelatin so any ideas would be greatly appreciated…..

      • There’s a small chance it could be magnesium deficiency exacerbated by the calcium in the broth. I used to get aural migraines especially after eating cheese, broccoli, or yogurt and realized it was severe magnesium deficiency. After taking magnesium, I never had another. It’s been years.

  83. I have the same question about beef broth. I always make mine with a beef bone broth starter that I get from a local farmer who raises pasture fed cows.

  84. So I won’t stop drinking bone broth after the research findings, but what about giving it to children? Does the analysis change when you have:

    a) a small child with less body weight than an adult


    b) an infant, primarily breastfed but also taking in a few (mostly play-with-your-food) solids; say, the 6 mos – 12 mos range?


    • I’m not going to stop giving Sylvie (18 months) broth. Everyone has to make their own decision, but based on the data I’ve seen, it’s not a concern at her level of intake (which is probably 1/4 cup a day, if that).

      Nor do I think it would be a concern in an infant that is primarily breastfed.

      • Are there any studies on the beneficial effects of comsuming bone broth? Are there any scientific articles on the mineral content of them (apart from this 1934 study – I often hear about the alleged benefits but I wasn’t able to find even one article on the subject. I’ve also read on numerous blogs that for making beef broth I need to simmer the bones for at least 24h to extract the most minerals, but it doesn’t seem to be based on any actual studies. What do you know about the subject?

        Looking forward to reading your book!

  85. I mostly make my broth from New Zealand lamb bones and cartilage (pastured I believe), I wonder how much lead that has.

    I don’t eat chicken since I can’t find a source of non-conventionally raised chicken, so I don’t make or consume chicken bone broth.

    • It was my belief that sheep in New Zealand are not pasture fed anymore, not in the final fattening up at least. I would make sure if what you believe is true. Australian sheep are not pasture fattened anymore.

      • Hi Cassie, well I would think it depends on the source/supplier of the meat in question (can’t generalize on an entire county’s production). The lamb I buy is from a company called “Silver Fern Farms”, it’s a public company so I assume it has a certain level of transparency in its operations. According to their website the animals are pasture fed:

        But I guess I should look a bit more into it, so I’ll be asking them by email and on their Facebook page:

        • I live in NZ, and recently contacted Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc via email to query whether any beef and lamb in NZ was grain finished, and they said all NZ beef and lamb is completely pastured (here in NZ grain is really expensive, unlike in the US for example, but rolling pastures are abundant) 🙂 I know that for the Asian markets at one point some producers toyed with the idea of finishing some beef with grains for a small period of time (as apparently consumers in those markets like the marbling through the beef that obese grain fed cattle get *shudder*) but apparently that proved to be too expensive to be worthwhile. I ♥ our beef and lamb 🙂

        • There seems to be an expression of interest in the possibility of having CAFO on hill country in New Zealand for beef. I keep an eye on the farming pages in our press. Certainly if this is able to be confirmed, I’ll be spreading the facts on various sites. Currently, some diary cows are supplemented with palm kernal extract depending on the state of the diarying finances. On some diary farms here in NZ, the cow’s eat tag denotes how much wheat is dispensed to the cow twice a day when it comes in for milking, depending on its output. I believe 1kg wheat/twice a day is the maximum they get. Watch this space though. There are apparently some CAFO diary operations in this country and there is a push for more of them.

          Feeding lambs and hoggets? Nah, haven’t heard that one. Some wool producing merino wethers are shed-farmed for the quality of the wool e.g. free of briars and matagouri which stain the wool. BTW, Australian merino can come from areas where they mulse their sheep, but NZ merino producers have no need to do this as the flystrike problem isn’t so bad.

      • I’ve never heard of lambs being grain-fed in New Zealand and in my country Australia,the vast majority of lambs are grass-fed;only in drought and in transit to slaughter are lambs fed grain.

      • I can assure you that all sheep in New Zealand are grass fed right throughout their lives. We have some thing like 30 million sheep here so if they are not grass fed and left to range on pastures how on earth would we feed them? Other crops are grown including rape and kale and in some instances, not all, lambs are finished by grazing these crops.

  86. Hello: Seems like the units need to be defined better. µ/L? I think you mean µg/L…
    Also, the 15 µg/L that you reference is the standard for tapwater (an important distinction). For those that want to research it themselves (As well as what went into developing the 15 µg/L, it can be found/downloaded from
    Also depending on how bone broth is prepared, as you stated, it is mighty close to 15 µg/L – particularly if you have more than one helping or are consuming other beverages/liquids may add to your lead intake. As another point, lead is a neurotoxin that bioaccumlates in the softtissues and bones – which is why you see higher concentrations in the bone and cartlidge/skin/bone broth. It seems that folks should probaly consume bone broth made with cartiladge/skin or just bones, eat it in moderation – there is a compounding effect for lead as well in our soft tissues and bones over our life span. To read more about lead and how it affects human health

    • Typo on the units fixed. According to the data I’ve seen, lead is unlikely to accumulate at 15 µg/L. It will be interesting to see similar measurements for pasture-raised chicken broth as well as beef broth.

    • I have similar concerns. I don’t hold the EPA as an utmost trusted source for my health- rather more of the bare minimum of standards.
      I’ve only begun my understanding of heavy metal toxicity and adrenal fatigue/endocrine malfunctioning. So, I will be looking more into that matter. Thank you for sharing this study to contemplate.

      • I was wondering the same thing. Larger animals would have a longer lifetime exposure, but then again chickens might have a higher body burden due to smaller size.

    • If they were broiler hens (past laying ability), they may be older than the beef cattle. Our chickens and turkeys in New Zealand are generally slaughtered at 42 days old but the organic ones would probably be a bit older as they may be a different breed.

  87. Thank you very much for your analysis. This is a bit more reassuring. Now what about beef bone broth? Being that cows are larger animals than chickens and live longer (though, I don’t know about the age of slaughter), I’m concerned that they would accumulate more lead in their bones that chickens used in the study.This has been an issue with calcium supplements made from cow bones. Also, you talk about adults. What about with young children?

    I’m very upset about this news, but can’t say I’m surprised. I can’t praise bone broth enough for it’s therapeutic value. I’ve been suffering for 8 years after knee surgery with almost constant pain and swelling. Started drinking bone broth twice daily and the pain and swelling went about after about 3 weeks. It’s been several months now and my knee has been great! I’m still amazed.

  88. Thanks Chris for your fast and thorough investigation of this! I have to be honest, I was pretty worried when I saw this being shared on Facebook yesterday. I will be interested to know the results of those who choose to have their bone broth tested – any resources of where we might be able to do so if we would like to do the same?

  89. Good reason to use clean, filtered water, grass-fed animals, keep our detox organs healthy and keep on detoxing. I just don’t see how this day and age we can afford to stop.

    • Yeah I was wondering why they didn’t use filtered water instead of tap? Perhaps the tap water is what is contributing to the higher amounts of lead.

  90. Thank you Chris, I really appreciate all your research, and while it is a bit disturbing, I appreciate your factual and level headed perspective on the subject. I really respect your opinion on these things, thank you again.

    • Hoffe, Your comment is interesting as I jumped on the bone broth band wagon with grass fed beef bones, but every time I drank it, I immediately got a pounding headache. So I’m wondering if it is the glutamates since I know I have sensitivities to MSG, it makes sense. – thanks!

    • I’ve heard that having sufficient Vitamin K and K2 will mop up excess glutamates. If you are having sensitivities to glutamates, you might want to check into this. Especially K2, as it’s hard to come by in food sources, yet is an important nutrient.

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