How Nutritious is Bone Marrow and How Can It Be Eaten?

Bone marrow is one of the few foods that contain vitamin D, an essential nutrient to ensure the proper functioning of bone tissue. We'll explain it to you.
How Nutritious is Bone Marrow and How Can It Be Eaten?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 05 April, 2023

Bone marrow is a substance found inside animal bones. It’s sometimes edible, and has a high nutritional value that can contribute to your daily nutrition requirements. It’s a food with an intense flavor, which is why it’s used in haute cuisine to prepare broths and stocks.

Although in traditional households people sometimes consume it, together with other cuts of offal, in towns it’s far less common. However, it can be found in supermarkets. Learning how to use it properly can be useful for supplementing your dietary intake.

Nutritional value of bone marrow

The nutritional value of bone marrow will vary according to the animal it comes from. However, it’s quite high in calories due to its fat content. On average it usually has about 780 kilocalories per 100 grams (4 oz), with 84 grams of fat.

It also stands out for its content of proteins of high biological value, as it contains 7 grams of them. However, it lacks carbohydrates.

On the other hand, bone marrow stands out for its concentration of micronutrients. These include iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and zinc. From the point of view of vitamins, it has the B group vitamins and vitamin A. There’s even a significant presence of vitamin D.

The lipid profile of marrow is noteworthy, as it provides essential fatty acids such as DHA and EPA, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. These ensure brain development, especially in the early stages of life. They also help modulate inflammation levels.

Calcium in food.
Several foods are a source of calcium and marrow can complement its contribution in a diet.

Benefits of consuming marrow

We’re going to mention the main benefits of consuming marrow and what science says in this regard.

1. Better bone health

Calcium intake has proven to be essential in order to prevent bone problems in the medium term. It’s a basic pillar to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis, a pathology more frequent in women than in men, which can negatively affect the quality of life.

Furthermore, marrow also contains vitamin D, which enhances the absorption of calcium itself. This duo is highly recommended for improving bone density.

You may also be interested in: 5 Exercises to Care for Your Bones

2. Reduced inflammation

The essential fatty acids contained in bone marrow are able to modulate the body’s inflammatory levels, according to research published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum. They help prevent cardiovascular pathologies, as many of them involve inflammation as an underlying mechanism.

There has even been speculation that unsaturated fatty acids may be able to positively modify the lipid profile. However, such an effect is rather limited.

3. Muscle growth

Proteins of high biological value are essential to ensure lean tissue recovery and tissue growth. There’s evidence that an adequate intake of these proteins can stimulate muscle hypertrophy, thus causing beneficial effects on health.

Furthermore, recommendations about moderating protein intake have been rejected, as it has been proven that they don’t produce adverse effects in the long term. Not even if consumed in large quantities.

Contraindications of bone marrow

Despite its high nutritional density, the consumption of bone marrow has certain contraindications. It’s a high-calorie product, so over-consumption can lead to an imbalance in the calorie balance. This leads to an increase in fat weight, which is considered harmful.

At the same time, there’s speculation that a diet excessively high in fat may alter the profile of the intestinal microbiota. The consequences of this phenomenon aren’t yet known for sure, but caution is recommended.

Bone marrow.
Marrow can increase caloric intake, so it should be consumed with caution if weight loss is intended.

Bone marrow is a nutritious food

Bone marrow is an uncommon food in many countries, but it has a high nutrient intake. Its consumption can help prevent nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin D deficiency, which is a public health problem. At the same time, it’s able to help cover the requirements of fats and proteins of high biological value.

The basis of our diet should be variety. For this reason, the wider the spectrum of foods included in the diet, the better. You can consume bone marrow, for example, in broths. In this way, a large number of its nutrients will be used, although part of the fat-soluble nutrients will be wasted.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.