Dear Mark: Collagen Peptides, Fasting vs Sleeping, Dog Bone Broth, and Pork Broth

Inline_Dear_Mark_Collagen_PowderFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four question. First, are collagen peptides just as effective as bone broth or other collagen sources? Second, how should I choose between IFing or sleeping like a baby using pre-bedtime nutrients that may impede autophagy? Next, I explore whether you should be making dog bone broth (it’s not what you think, so don’t worry about that). And finally, what are some of my favorite pork bone broth recipes?

Let’s go:

Nicole asks:

Hello – I am wondering if anybody has any opinions on the Pacific Organic Bone Broth one can get at Costco. I’m skeptical it is the “good stuff.” Also, do collagen peptide powders offer the same benefits?

I haven’t tried the Pacific broth, but a good rule of thumb is to look at the protein content on the label. If it’s high, you can assume it’s high in collagen.

Collagen peptides appear to have many of the same effects as broth or straight collagen or gelatin powder. They should. They’re made of the same stuff, only more digestible.

Collagen peptides improved body composition, increased fat free mass, and boosted strength in sarcopenic (muscle-wasting) older men. No, collagen amino acids don’t directly contribute to muscle protein synthesis, but they are protein-sparing—when you eat collagen/gelatin/collagen peptides, you need fewer amino acids from more androgenic sources to get the same effect.

Collagen peptides derived from beef bone and pork skin improved quality of life and subjective pain levels compared to placebo in osteoarthritis patients. Just like gelatin/collagen does.

Drinking fermented milk with added collagen peptides increased collagenous amino acid levels in plasma.

Peptides certainly work. But so does straight-up collagen or gelatin (or bone broth, for that matter).

Stefan M. wonders:

Hello, Mark! I have a question. I’m a fan of the IF protocol, but I like to eat a tablespoon of honey, of coconut oil, and drink a big mug of bone broth 30 m – 1 hr before sleep.

It knocks me out good. I’m following your suggestions for sleep!!

The problem is that my schedule is most compatible with a eating window from 8 AM to 12 PM, so say I drink the bone broth at 9 PM; I fear it could affect the autophagy effects of fasting.

Are the quantities mentioned going to break fasting-induced autophagy? If so, how could I make it up, if I still drink before bed because it’s so helpful?

Should I try to make a compromise or, say, add 2 daily-long fasts a week; or one 5 day-long fast a month, or whatever, for enhanced autophagy? What would be most effective?

If I cyclically switch between a carb-loaded crossfit training period (high stress and high energy requirements) and a more relaxed ketogenic weightlifting training period (maintenance rather than constant pushing), what’s the best course of action for each scenario?

On the hierarchy of health decisions, sleep trumps almost everything else. If a spoonful of honey, a mouthful of coconut oil, and a big mug of bone broth are the key to getting you 8 hours of solid sleep a night, it’s worth giving up a compressed eating window. And besides, bad sleep kills autophagy.

You could try introducing one intervention at a time. Try the broth alone at night for a week. Try the honey alone at night for a week. Try the coconut oil alone at night for a week. You may not need all three to get the desired effect. Broth alone could do it.

As to the last question:

I find keto-based strength training works very well with both a compressed eating window of 6-8 hours or occasional 24-hour fasts.

For CrossFit, don’t fast every day, but make sure your fasts fall on days you don’t train. A fast could be a full 24-hour one or a compressed eating window.

I don’t think 5-day fasts are necessary. It sounds like you’ve got your ducks in a row. You’re sleeping well, training regularly, dipping into keto—you’re promoting plenty of autophagy. Just not convinced a 5-dayer offers anything special to someone like you, except maybe as a feat of endurance and courage and fortitude.

Which is important, too.

Pippa asks:

I have a question- my butcher sells bag of bones for $2. They would be perfect for broth making, however they are labeled “dog bones” and are not stored cold (they just sit in a trolley in the middle of the shop). Would they be safe to use for broth making?

I wouldn’t risk it.

Bobby Walker asks:

Any pork bone broth recipes out there? I have about 12lbs of pork bones but haven’t had a clue on what to do with them.

Thanks in advance.

I like a simple Asian pork broth.

Put bones in pot, fill with water, bring to boil.

Dump out the water, save the bones. Clean them under running water, making sure to remove as much blood as possible (use a butter knife or chopstick).

Add them back to pot with fresh water, a big wedge of smashed ginger, some green onions, and that’s about it. Maybe a few cloves of garlic.

Simmer or pressure cook until the resultant liquid gels. Season with salt and/or tamari sauce.

Another pork broth I’ve enjoyed is a rich brown one.

Roast the bones plus some onions, carrots, garlic, and tomato paste at 400 for 40 minutes, or until dark and golden brown.

Add contents of roasting pan to pot, cover with water.

Deglaze roasting pan with big red wine, about a half bottle to a bottle’s worth. Keep the heat on so help break down the alcohol.

Add deglazed scrapings and a bay leaf to the pot.

Simmer or pressure cook until gel occurs.

Vastly different from the more delicate Asian-style pork broth, though. Keep both around for different purposes.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care!

Be sure to help out down below with any answers you can expand on.

Keto Meal Plan

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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25 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Collagen Peptides, Fasting vs Sleeping, Dog Bone Broth, and Pork Broth”

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  1. Fragmented sleep kills auto phagey? Bad news for us older dudes with enlarged prostates making three or four trips to pee every night. Mark, any suggestions?

    1. While not a sufferer myself, many report a drop in peeing frequency after using saw palmetto extract. And if you haven’t applied it already, you should refrain from drinking after 8pm. Good Luck!

      1. Thank you. Trying to avoid super concentrated extracts of anything (not primal) like those used in saw palmetto supplements. Stopping liquids after 8 pm rarely effects night time pit stops, nor does stopping caffeine take. Hoping there might be a primal solution for age-related prostate hypertrophy.

        1. I wouldn’t be so sure that fragmented sleep per se kills autophagy- as Mark has covered elsewhere, polyphasic sleep was the norm in humans for much of history and prehistory. Getting sub-8 hours is the biggest problem.

          1. But, Bobby, Chris didn’t mention the sort of natural circadian cycle found within hunter-gatherers wherein one habitually wakes up for an hour at a time and then goes back to sleep.

            His sleep is literally interrupted, brute-forced from completing its cycles, by his necessity to pee. That’s the definition of sleep fragmentation as used within that article.

            It’s not a normal hormonal response, it’s a detrimental interruption. Seeking a prevention method or alleviation is the best reaction, particularly if it’s very aggravating.

    2. Us women have been dealing with this issue throughout our childbearing years. The need to pee Never Stops. Good bye, sleep. Hello, never ending trips to the squatty. I feel for ya!

  2. I love all things MDA… having said that, I think you missed an opportunity with the first question as it relates to collagen peptides offering the same benefits as bone broth.

    This is almost like asking if vitamin A offers the same benefits as beef liver. Just as collagen is an important constituent of bone broth so too is vitamin A an important constituent of beef liver. But… there’s a whole lot more to the story when it comes to bone broth than just the all mighty collagen. For instance, bone broth provides everything that’s in the bone matrix (calcium hydroxyapatite, osteocalcium phosphate, collagen, proteoglycans, matrix proteins, cytokines and growth factors, etc), the bone marrow (fat soluble activators and stem cells), the cartilage and yes, it provides collagen peptides too.

    Keep in mind that collagen supplements come from the hides, not the bones. Don’t get me wrong… collagen peptides are awesome… they just happen to be one of the several reasons that bone broth (bone soups) are one of the most nourishing foods in existence.

    Hope you don’t mind me chiming in.

      1. I love it!! I do 15g in my morning shake and 15g in my evening “dessert” which is a mix of raw almond butter, ghee, coconut oil, pink salt, cinnamon, protein powder and gelatin. I make a big batch every two weeks… it’s so good!

        Having said that, 100% beef gelatin still comes from the hides, not the bones… trust me on this! Everything that I said above applies to my thoughts on collagen (whether it’s hydrolyzed collagen (or) the non-hydrolyzed variety that we call gelatin.. pros and cons to each).

        In summary, collagen is amazing for us for all the reasons that Mark says… I like that we get balanced amino acids like glycine and proline that we otherwise would not get (unless you eat the organs). I just don’t want people to think that collagen supplements (whether they’re from fish, chicken, beef or buffalo) are comparable to bone soups… they’re not… not even close. They happen to have one ingredient in common… collagen!

        1. Such good information! Thank you. May I ask what protein powder you use? I do not use sweetener of any kind and have yet to find a good tasting protein powder that does not include some form of sweetener.

          1. Hi Katie… I checked out your site… I must say I’m a fan!! I especially liked your Mocktail recipes.

            To answer your question, I own a supplement company (Ancestral Supplements) so I have the luxury of making my own; however, I don’t make a commercial version bc it doesn’t fit my nose-to-tail brand nor my mission (putting back in what the modern world has left out).

            I know this doesn’t help much so I’m gonna tell you about Bluebonnet’s Whey Protein Isolate from grass fed cows… I’d go for the natural flavor w/ no sweeteners. Check ’em out.

            For added flavor, sometimes I use five to ten grams of raw honey (or) organic freeze-dried coffee crystals. Do you have any ingredients that you like to add for flavor? Always on the prowl for primal friendly flavors.

  3. So much good stuff here. In regards to the collagen vs. bone broth, I do both. Adding collagen to my diet has improved my skin more than anything else I have ever done. Collagen peptides daily in my coffee (that way I know it’s actually happening) and there are always a few of the Primal Kitchen collagen bars in my purse (macadamia is my fave). But I also use bone broth whenever I can…I figure there has to be some crazy mineral content there that we’re not getting from the straight collagen. In regards to the sleep thing, totally agree to prioritize sleep. That has always been an issue for me. Dave Asprey has been talking about how sleep quality is really the most important thing…we should be focusing on better sleep rather than more sleep. So if the coconut oil/honey/broth routine is working I know I’d be sticking with it! And yeah, a big no to the dog bones! Although I would totally buy them for my dog!

  4. Interesting. Huge difference in the amount of protein in the Pacific versus the Kettle and Fire bone broth. 2 grams for the Pacific versus 10 grams per cup for the K & F! A cup of Pacific bone broth is about $1.50 versus $5.00 for the K & F.

    1. I have some Pacific Foods bone broth in my pantry. The label says 9g protein per 1 cup serving. Maybe you are looking at the stock.

      1. Also, are we all looking at the chicken bone broth? That’s what I have on hand, Pacific organic chicken bone broth – 9g per cup

      2. MY BAD SO SORRY! Correct Diana and Nicole, I also had some regular chicken broth in my fridge I was looking at. 9 grams, that’s much better.

  5. As far as Pippa’s question goes–I’d ask said butcher if he would please set aside a $2 bag of bones for me in the cooler each week to pick up on Saturday morning! I’d even offer him $5 for it.

    1. The bones will be sterile after simmering or pressure cooking. So if they don’t smell rotten from the get go they are most likely fine. Ask the butcher. My butcher was putting out calves liver labeled for pets. I asked why is this just for pets? The butcher replied, “Because nobody who shops here eats calves liver”.

  6. Thanks, Mark!! This clears all doubts up!
    The 3-week experiment is certainly worth doing. I’ll also test whether monounsaturated oils or animal fats have the same effect, or are more effective, than coconut oil on me.

  7. Thanks for answering my question Mark! Much appreciated. I made one very similar to the simple Asian one and it’s delicious I had a cup at lunch today.

    I’m extremely excited to try rich dark broth. Sounds amazing.

    Thanks again and Grok on!

  8. ie. The pork broth question, they’re bones, if the critter is edible you can make stock from the bones. Some are easier and more palatable than others but yeah.

  9. Love the links and extra info on collagen peptides…also this: “On the hierarchy of health decisions, sleep trumps almost everything else.” Yes!

  10. which collagen powder can be consumed during a fasting stage in IF regime?

  11. Very helpful information. Thank you. Anyone have a favorite economically without sacrificing benefits? Peptides vs homemade bone broth vs collagen fuel? Thanks. I’m 78 yrs old female who feels like 60. Been on keto since June.