Is Bone Marrow Good For You? Unlocking The Nutritional Benefits

Written by Dr. Amber Jones
On

For time unknown, humans have savored the rich and nutritional essence of “Bone Marrow”. This animal-based culinary delight is a nutritional powerhouse, however, it is often underestimated. Bone marrow has been a part of traditional diets across cultures, and for centuries, it has played a crucial role in sustaining health.

This overlooked treasure trove offers a range of surprising benefits and a delectable taste. From supporting the immune system to enhancing joint and skin health, Bone marrow is good for you in numerous ways. Join us in this article as we unravel whether the bone marrow is good for you and explore the diverse virtues of this culinary excellence.

What is Bone Marrow? Its Function

Bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue vital to the skeletal system. It is often found within the cavities of the bones, particularly in the thigh, hip bone, or spine.

Health Benefits Of Bone Marrow

Humans comprise two types of bone marrow:

  1. Myeloid Tissues (Red marrow)
  2. Fatty Tissues (Yellow marrow)

The Myeloid Tissue aka the Red bone marrow is present in the pelvis and skull (ideally flat bones). It is a manufacturing hub for blood cells, including red, white, and platelets. It supports the process of hematopoiesis, ensuring a continuous blood supply for maintaining different bodily functions.

Meanwhile, fatty tissue and yellow bone marrow are present in long bones. It is a storage reservoir for adipose (fat) cells, the energy reserve. Together, these types ensure continuous function in hematopoiesis and energy regulation, which are crucial for well-being. 

Bone Marrow: Nutritional Profile

NutrientAmount per 100 grams
Calories740 kcal
Protein10 grams
Fat80 grams
Saturated Fat30 grams
Monosaturated Fat35 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat8 grams
Cholesterol300 milligram
Iron2 milligram
Zinc1 milligram
Vitamin A10,000 IU
Vitamin d50 IU

Health Benefits Of Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is good for you, and researchers have explored numerous health benefits of the same, including the following:

  • Supports Hematopoiesis: The red bone marrow plays a crucial role in hematopoiesis. This process regulates the production of blood cells, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of red and white blood cells and platelets.
  • Rich in Nutrients: It is a powerhouse of nutrients and is a rich source of healthy fats, protein, vitamin A and D, iron, and zinc.
  • Supports Joint Health: The presence of collagen and other essential nutrients that reduce joint pain and support overall joint function. Besides that, it is rich in glucosamine, which reduces joint inflammation and helps fight against osteoarthritis
  • Boost Immune System: By playing a crucial role in white blood cell production, it supports the body in fighting against infections and illnesses, thus supporting the overall immune system. It also supports antibody development and immune cell maturation.
  • Boost Collagen Production: It contains collagen (a protein) that improves skin elasticity, thus reducing early signs of aging. Collagen also plays an essential role in tissue repair and regeneration and in improving joint function.

Bone Marrow Potential Risks

Although this nutritional powerhouse offers a range of benefits, it may also possess certain risks.

Here are the potential risks you may need to know about:

  • High in Calories: It is rich in calories and fat, which could concern those on a restricted diet, especially on a weight loss journey. Individuals dealing with Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, and Cardiovascular concerns must be cautious and consult their doctor before including bone marrow in their diet.
  • High in Cholesterol: The high cholesterol content may pose a risk for those managing heart health, particularly those with elevated cholesterol levels.
  • High Saturated Fat: Bone marrow may contribute to cardiovascular issues due to excessive saturated fat. It is essential to balance it with dietary fat and fiber accordingly.
  • Allergy and Dietary Restrictions: Individuals following a vegan or vegetarian diet or those dealing with animal product allergies may need to avoid it.
  • Sourcing Concerns: Given it is an animal-source diet, the chances of contamination and introduction to harmful substances are high.

How to add Bone Marrow to your diet? How to prepare it?

Including bone marrow in your diet can be a nutritious and flavorful addition. Here’s a simple guide on how you can prepare it:

You will need:

  • Bone marrow from a safe, trusted source. Ensure they are fresh and free from any contamination or unpleasant odor.
  • Salt and Pepper for taste
  • Herbs and Spices for seasoning (optional)

Preparation Options:

  • Start by rinsing bone marrow under running water and remove all the blood and debris. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Celcius, or prepare it at gas top.
  • Marinate the bone marrow in herbs, spices, and olive oil and let it sit for half an hour. However, this step is entirely optional, and you can skip it if you do not want added flavors to your meal.
  • Or, simply season it with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  • Now place the bone marrow in a roasting pan, standing upright, and roast it in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Or, cook it on a gas stove (with water in a pan) until the marrow separates from the bone.
  • Once cooked, remove it from the plate and use a spoon to scoop out the marrow. You can also suck the soft, cooked marrow.

Who should not eat bone marrow?

The following should not eat bone marrow:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarians
  • Individuals with high cholesterol levels.
  • Individuals on a low-fat diet.
  • Individuals on a weight loss journey.

Conclusion

So, is bone marrow good for you? Yes, absolutely. Bone marrow can be an excellent nutritional powerhouse when consumed in moderation and with a well-balanced nutritious diet. Incorporating it into the diet can offer a comprehensive approach to support numerous health concerns. The best part is that it is quickly and widely available, and the taste is delectable for meat lovers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I eat bone marrow?

Although the frequency of consuming bone marrow depends upon individuals’ health and preference when just starting once or twice a week is enough.

Is bone marrow better than meat?

Both bone marrow and meat are tasty and nutritious, and none of them can be stated better than the other. Choosing between both depends on an individual’s nutritional needs and preferences.

Can you eat raw bone marrow?

Although many culinary traditions include raw bone marrow consumption cooking, it is recommended to reduce potential contamination.

References

  • Monro JA, Leon R, Puri BK. The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. Med Hypotheses. 2013;80(4):389–390. [PubMed]
  •  McCance RA, Sheldon W, Widdowson EM.. Bone and vegetable broth. Arch Dis Child. 1934;9(52):251–11. [PMC free article]

Our recommendations are rooted in genuine belief in the benefits of the products bring to users. When you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission, supporting our testing and development without adding any cost for you. Learn more.

Amber Jones is a sought-after dietitian nutritionist with expertise in public and community health. She holds a Masters in Public Health from Yale University and completed her dietetic internship with the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center

Learn More

Leave a Comment