My Miraculous Back Injury Recovery

Last week I posted about how I injured my back in the gym. It was a serious injury. It was the kind of injury that would have taken a few weeks to fully recover from in the past. I was 90% recovered in 3 days and 100% recovered in just 4 days. I always thought getting older meant slower recovery. Not if physique hacking is your hobby. How did I do it?

In the phenomenal book Deep Nutrition by Dr. Cate Shanahan, there is a section on the healing properties of bone broth. When it comes to repairing joints and cartilage, beef broth may be the best food on the planet. In a podcast interview on Underground Wellness, she discussed an animal study where they tracked the healing properties of bone broth feed to mice with injured joints. Using isotopic labeling and X-rays they were able to determine that the injured joints were preferentially receiving the glycosaminoglycan molecules for healing.

Podcast Interview: MORE Deep Nutrition with Dr. Cate Shanahan on Underground Wellness. Discussion of this study starts around the 16-minute mark.

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food
Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan MD

For the past week, I have been consuming a mug of warm bone broth with melted butter every morning. I also had a stew using bone broth going, which provided several meals. I’ve been eating bone stocks for over two years now. When it comes to just feeling great and benefiting from improved immunity, I was already a believer. Now I am sold on its ability to heal.

If you are active or just getting older, I highly recommend making beef stock and remouillage part of your weekly diet.

UPDATE Nov 11, 2011: An updated source for the mice joint repair information.


Add yours

  1. Please say more about “Instead of going through digestion, it actually went directly to the source of the injury”. Did they inject the broth directly into the blood? 🙂

  2. @Speno – I wish I had the book in front of me. Basically, the experiment showed that the healing properties of the broth were not destroyed in digestion and instead could be routed to the source of inflammation.

    When I get the book back from the person I loaned it to, I’ll update this post.

  3. Congrats MAS. I’m a total bone broth believer too.

  4. Richard Sparks

    Nov 8, 2011 — 10:30 am

    My wife’s “foodie Tuesday” post on making broths:

  5. how apropo. i have a pot going overnight to be ready tonight. we cook with it like crazy but i cannot say i consume it straight. it’s become valuable stuff at my house. my wife may not be real happy with me if she saw me hogging it all. i’ll just have to sneak it i guess.

  6. Is there any resource that once and for all has long term pros/cons of eating a meat-based vs. plant-based diet? I recently read a book called “Reverse and Cure Heart Disease” by Esselstyn and it gravely warns against a meat-based diet. However, I have also read “The Primal Diet” and that makes some sense too. Any thoughts?

  7. I think I might try this. Where do you get beef bones from?

  8. Thomas,

    I think humans all need animal parts to thrive but not necessary land animal muscle meat.
    I rarely eat muscle meat, instead I eat mussels, fish, liver, heart, tongue, insects and … beef stock.
    I leave the muscle meat for my dog (she can handle it, I can’t).

  9. @Ed – I get them from the Farmers Market and a company called Blue Valley Meats.

    @Thomas – I am not a doctor or nutritionist, but I have researched diet extensively over the past few years. I am more swayed by the arguments made by those that use a Paleolithic model. My health improved when I removed wheat and vegetable oils and embraced a diet high in fat.

  10. Thanks. Maybe vegetable heavy and light on non-muscle meats may be optimal for me. Esselstyn said if you lack energy from a plant-based diet the cause is not eating enough, but it is hard to eat like a grazing animal. I occasionally have bread but try not to because I think a heavy carbs/sugar diet will lead to catastrophic health care costs in the US in about 20 years.

  11. MAS – thanks for the tip. Bone broth seems to have helped me nip an injury in the bud too. It’s the tastiest medicine I know.

  12. @Thomas

    I am really interested this that you said….”I think a heavy carbs/sugar diet will lead to catastrophic health care costs in the US in about 20 years.” If you predict this will happen in 20 years, your prediction is about 30-35 years too late. Obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes have all increased (some by a lot) since processed carbs replaced fats in our diets in the 80’s till today.

  13. @MAS….thanks! I just realized I made a bad move over the summer. I had the 1/4 beef that I ordered de-boned from the butcher, which cost twice as much for cut and wrap. But at least I know better now. I know you can buy beef broth already premaid even organic for those lazy days, which is good for back up.

  14. All – I located the source of the “mice with injured joints” information and updated the post with a link to a podcast interview with Dr. Cate Shanahan.

  15. good sleuthing

  16. Dear Michael (may I call you Michael?),

    Thanks so much for the thumbs up. I’m so glad your back’s feeling better. As you point out, stock’s essential for healing the sort of soft tissue injury you experienced. Or at least essential for humans, because our bodies have, over the past 100,000 years or so, come to depend on the stuff.

    I love your photo. I can see in your face that you’re an animal lover, and I can tell that the cat trusts you. We’ve got a 25 lb. Maine coon who was in a past life severely abused who’s just getting used to jumping in bed at night. It’s so important to me and to my co-author, Dr. Cate, that primal-minded folks keep in mind that eating animal products doesn’t mean we don’t love animals. It’s so important that we give our money to those farmers and ranchers who truly care for the animals they raise. It’s better for the planet. It’s better for the planet. It’s just better.

    So please keep working out hard and trusting your body to recover given the right mind-set and the proper materials, and please broadcast your love for animals. I’m convinced there’s a way we can do all these things, as I’m sure you are as well.


    Luke Shanahan

  17. @Luke – Thanks for commenting. I love your book. Read it twice already. Your section on bone broths was outstanding.

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