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

For 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 [1] 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 [2], 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 [3] compared to placebo in osteoarthritis patients. Just like gelatin/collagen does [4].

Drinking fermented milk with added collagen peptides increased collagenous amino acid levels in plasma [5].

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 [6] 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 [7].

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 [8] 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 [9] and/or tamari sauce [10].

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.