Why is Bone Broth High in Histamine? Exploring the Factors



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Why is Bone Broth High in Histamine? Exploring the Factors


Bone broth has gained popularity in recent years for its purported health benefits. However, for individuals with histamine intolerance, bone broth can be a concern due to its high histamine content. In this article, we will explore why bone broth is considered high in histamine and examine the factors that contribute to its histamine levels.

Histamine Formation in Bone Broth

When preparing bone broth, people typically use bones with attached flesh, similar to how meat is utilized. Freshness is crucial when working with meat to minimize histamine formation. Histidine, an amino acid found in animal flesh, can be converted into histamine by bacteria that possess the enzyme histidine decarboxylase. The levels of histamine in meat can vary based on the processing and freshness of the meat.

Beef and Histamine Content

Among various types of meat, beef tends to exhibit higher histamine levels because it undergoes an extended storage process before being sold. Beef is frequently aged for 2-6 weeks, providing sufficient time for histamine to develop. Consequently, the bones used to make bone broth often contain meat that is already high in histamine.

Histamine Accumulation during Cooking

One crucial aspect to bear in mind is that cooking does not destroy histamine; in fact, it can accumulate over time. When preparing bone broth, people usually cook the bones for 24-72 hours to extract minerals and nutrients. Regrettably, this extended cooking duration creates a substantial window for histamine production. The longer the cooking duration, the higher the histamine content in the resulting broth.

Chicken and Histamine Levels

While chicken flesh usually contains less histamine than beef, the histamine content of chicken increases significantly during boiling compared to beef. This means that bone broth made from chicken can still have elevated histamine levels due to the cooking process.

Individual Tolerance and Cooking Duration

It’s important to note that individual tolerance to histamine varies. Some individuals may find that they tolerate meat stocks or short cooked bone broths (cooked for no more than 4 hours) better than long-cooked bone broths. Understanding your own tolerance is key when incorporating bone broth into your diet.

Glutamate and Histamine Liberation

Another factor to consider is the presence of glutamate in bone broth. Glutamate, an amino acid, can potentially function as a histamine liberator in certain individuals, leading to symptoms like increased heart rate, flushing, and a sensation of heightened alertness.

The Role of Gut Bacteria

The level of bacteria in the bowel can also contribute to the conversion of histidine into histamine. Gut dysbiosis or imbalances in gut bacteria may further enhance histamine formation and impact individual histamine intolerance.


In summary, we can attribute the high histamine content of bone broth to factors such as histidine in animal flesh, the extended storage process of beef, and the prolonged cooking time required to prepare bone broth. Individual tolerance to histamine and glutamate varies, and gut bacteria play a role in histamine formation. 

Understanding these factors can help individuals with histamine intolerance make informed decisions regarding their consumption of bone broth. As always, seeking personalized guidance and support in managing histamine intolerance is advisable by consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.


Ann Dermatol2017 Dec;29(6):706-714.doi: 10.5021/ad.2017.29.6.706. Epub 2017 Oct 30. PMID: 29200758


This article serves solely for informational purposes and should not be regarded as a replacement for professional medical advice.

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