top of page


The name Osteoarthritis suggests it is inflammation of the bones and joints. Many doctors prefer to call degenerative joint disease because inflammation is not always present. More accurately, the decease is marked by the destruction of the articular cartilage in the joints.

When healthy articular cartilage is present, it continuously releases lubricating fluid to ensure that joints glide slickly and smoothly against each other. When the cartilage dries, thins, and cracks, we get the scraping of osteoarthritis with loss of joint motion, swelling, and pain.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

No one knows what initial event triggers the biochemical change that leads to osteoarthritis, but once articular cartilage begins to degenerate, the bones below harden and form unwanted bony spurs at the margins of the joints where tendons and ligaments are attached. Though pure cartilage has no blood vessels, blood vessels will invade cartilage, contributing to the inflammation and pain.

So where might the problem start? Most likely in the gelatinous matrix. People afflicted with osteoarthritis either do not produce enough of the protein sugars known as proteoglycans that are the building blocks of springy, plump cartilage. Also, the body’s cartilage-eating enzymes elastase and hyaluronase may develop an eating disorder that leads them to prematurely destroy cartilage.

Skeletal evidence proves that arthritic degeneration has plagued humankind since the Stone Age. Egyptian mummies, Anasazi remains, and Roman baths all testify to ancient pain and suffering. Whales, birds, amphibians, and reptiles also come down with arthritis, and the dinosaurs had it 2 hundred million years ago.

Bones of Healthy Primitive People

In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS, traveled to isolated parts of the globe to study the health of populations untouched by Western civilization. The groups he visited included sequestered villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, indigenous peoples of North and South America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines, and New Zealand Maori. Wherever he went, he found people of all ages who were remarkable free of dental cabities, osteoarthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

Dr. Price’s findings make it clear that it is time to put to rest the wear-and-tear theory of arthritis. The problem is not old age but the fact that cartilage is breaking down faster than it is built up. The question is why, and the answer requires a revolution in our thinking about arthritis and an open mind to the ancestral wisdom of eating plenty of broth and other cartilage-rich foods.

Today health experts are so out of touch that many believe there are few or even no dietary sources of cartilage. Consumed every day, bone broth supplies the components our bodies need to repair and rebuild cartilage and keep those gluttonous cartilage-eating enzymes under control. The 12th century Benedictine abbess Hildegard von Bingen recommended “frequent and adequate” portions of a broth made from ox feet for joint pain --- and this remains good advice today.

Standard therapies are hot packs, ultrasound and manipulation by physical therapists, intended to increase the blood supply and speed the healing. But the bottom line is, if you the blood is lacking the nutrients needed to heal the injured tissues, the therapies will be mostly in vain.

The Science

Broth is a staple in the diets of healthy people around the world and probable reason they are free of osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, scientists have not studied the healing power of broth for arthritis prevention and reversal. Yet indirect evidence shows significant joint benefits from taking gelatin, cartilage, and collagen supplements and the building blocks glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.

Gelatin as a Form of Collagen Hydrolysate

According to the 2007 textbook Gelatine Handbook, German researchers took up the study of collagen hydrolysate for osteoarthritis in the 1970. Collagen hydrolysate --- a form of gelatin that’s been “conditioned” through a process known as enzymatic hydrolysis --- is readily soluble in water. It is thus easy to stir into hot or cold food or beverages at home. This made it a useful and potentially very profitable product. In 1982, a report by B. Goetz appeared in the German medical journal Aerztliche Praxis. 60 patients ages 8 to 33 afflicted with youthful arthritic knees were tested. At the end of 3 months, 75% where free of pain and cartilage regeneration had occurred in 80% of these cases.

In 1991, Milan Adam, DSci, of Prague's Institute of Rheumatism Research published positive results in Therapiewoche. His randomized double-blind study on 81 patients suffering from osteoarthritis showed a 50% reduction in pain for patients treated with collagen hydrolysate. The study led to patents for collagen hydrolysate in both Europe and the United States. Collagen does seem to build collagen and cartilage, but cartilage may do it even better.

Cartilage Therapy

Dr. John F. Prudden, MD DSci (1920-1998), is known as the “father of cartilage therapy.” His first studies involved cartilage injections, and subsequently worked with oral doses of 9gams/day of a whole food-based bovine tracheal cartilage supplement. An earlier study of great interest to DR. Prudden was published by Alfred Jay Bollet, MD, in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism in 1968. It proved that cartilage extracts stimulate chondroitin sulfate synthesis. This component of cartilage matrix not only attracts the water needed for plum cartilage but also reduces excessive numbers of cartilage-chewing enzymes. During the same period, I. William Lane, PhD (1922-2011), began heavily promoting shark cartilage as a cure for osteoarthritis as well as cancer in his bestselling book Sharks Don't Get Cancer.

Bone broth, which contains both collagen and cartilage, may do it best of all.

Source: Book - Nurishing Broth - Chapter 9

bottom of page