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Is the secret ingredient in your bone broth alpaca?


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Photo: Thinkstock/Istentiana

Considering that you need roughly eight hours to spare if you want to brew some bone broth, it’s no wonder that buying it in ready-made batches has only increased in popularity since the trend hit the wellness scene a few years ago. (The warming beverage is said to be good for your gut and skin, and helps fight inflammation throughout the body.)

But when you taste your store-bought broth, can you really tell the difference between if it was made with turkey or beef bones, or…something else?

“You have to remember, [bones] were waste products that were going to dog food. Farmers were ecstatic if they could get anything for them.”

This week, NPR reported that bone broth has become so popular that bones used to make it are getting hard to come by. One brand, Salt, Fire & Time, is dealing with the shortage by turning to an unlikely animal: alpaca. Yep, that’s right: they are using alpaca bones to make their broth. (For the record: They do still use bones from lamb, bison, pork, and turkey.)

“Trying to get enough bones is really hard,” Salt, Fire & Time co-owner Tressa Yellig tells NPR. “You have to remember, [bones] were waste products that were going to dog food. Farmers were ecstatic if they could get anything for them.”

As the demand for bones increases, you can expect one of two things to happen: Brands will branch out and turn to different types of animals for sourcing, like the aforementioned alpaca, or the price for your broth will go up. So savor that cup of affordable take-out (or make-at-home) broth while you can.

Fortunately, there are more good-for-your-gut foods out there: These 10 foods and drinks all help digestion. And if it’s the skin benefits you’re after, here are some other ways to get that collagen fix.