If you’re battling weight creep, fatigue, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, I know it’s tempting to reach for an artificial “fix”—a diet pill, an energy drink, or a shot of Botox. But I have a better prescription for you. It’s one of the world’s most powerful healing and anti-aging foods: bone broth.

Bone broth is trendy right now, with everyone from NBA stars to celebrities like Shailene Woodley and Gwyneth Paltrow raving about it. But that’s not why I tell my patients to drink this slow-simmered broth made from the bones of meat, chicken, turkey, or fish.

In fact, I was a fan of bone broth years before it became the “in thing.” More than a decade ago, I discovered the healing and fat-melting properties of this liquid gold and made it the core of my anti-aging and weight loss transformations. In addition, I drink it myself every day. Here’s why.

Bone broth heals your gut

Bone broth is packed with collagen, which turns into gelatin when you cook it — gelatin is one of the most potent gut healers on the planet. Gelatin is loaded with glycine, a powerful anti-inflammatory amino acid, and it’s rich in other healing nutrients including magnesium, proline, and arginine.

Gelatin’s gut-healing properties are important because in order to stay slim and healthy, you need to have a rock-solid gut. In fact, as a clinician who specializes in transforming sick and overweight patients into healthy, slender people, I can tell you that nothing is more important to your health than a strong gut. Here’s the story.

Your gut is home to the trillions of microbes that scientists call your microbiome. Think of this microbiome as an ecosystem — one that’s either in balance or out of balance. If it’s in balance, you have a wide diversity of good microbes and very few bad ones. If it’s out of balance, two very dangerous things can happen:

  • The bad microbes can multiply rapidly, churning out toxic chemicals.

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can occur. In SIBO, microbes overpopulate your gut, overwhelming it.

There are many reasons why your gut can get out of balance. Here are some of the primary ones:

  • Antibiotic use, which kills trillions of good microbes.

  • A diet of the wrong foods, which starves them.

  • Stress, which poisons their environment.

  • Antacids, NSAIDS, and other gut-altering medications, which change the “chemistry” of their ecosystem in harmful ways.

When bad microbes gain too much control in your gut, or when good microbes multiply too rapidly, they produce chemicals that cause inflammation. This inflammation damages the wall of your intestine, causing intestinal permeability, or a “leaky gut.” This allows bacteria, toxins, and waste to escape into your bloodstream where your immune system identifies them as alien to your body, triggering a flood of inflammatory chemicals.

When your immune system keeps encountering these escaped gut toxins day after day, it eventually gets stuck in the “on” position. Your warrior cells keep releasing toxic chemicals, even though there’s no war to fight. This causes chronic inflammation — and we now know that this chronic inflammation underlies every disease of aging, from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and cancer.

Gelatin helps transform a leaky gut into a strong barrier, healing chronic inflammation and making your entire body healthier. As a result, you’ll lose extra pounds more easily, feel more energetic, and even discover that skin problems like eczema start to clear up.

Bone broth erases your wrinkles

High-end wrinkle creams are packed with collagen, which firms and strengthens the cells in your skin. However, it’s far more effective to build collagen from the inside . When you drink bone broth, it’s like mainlining the components of collagen to your skin.

Bone broth also contains hyaluronic acid, which hydrates your skin, erasing fine wrinkles. (Babies’ skin is loaded with hyaluronic acid, which is why it’s so soft.) Again, you can pay big money for skin creams containing this wrinkle blaster — or you can feed it straight to your cells, the natural way.

Bone broth helps you lose weight fast

Unlike the watery broth you get in a can, bone broth is rich, hearty, and satisfying. When you drink a cup, you’ll feel like you’ve eaten a full meal, even though you’re only taking in around 50 to 60 calories. As a result, you won’t experience cravings, even if you cut down drastically on your food intake.

When my patients need to lose weight rapidly, I tell them to do two semi-fasts a week, eating nothing but bone broth on those days. Many of them initially aren’t sure they can do it. However, they quickly discover that the weight melts right off them, and they’re amazed at how effectively bone broth stops their cravings for sugar and junk food.

Bone broth protects your joints

Your joints contain cartilage, a slippery Teflon-like coating that allows the joints to slide over each other without grinding. Similarly, animal bones contain cartilage. In addition to being rich in collagen, cartilage is packed with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — the same nutrients many doctors prescribe as supplements to keep joints young and healthy.

A randomized, double-blind clinical trial in 2015 found that oral chondroitin and glucosamine were as effective as the arthritis drug Celebrex in reducing pain, swelling, and functional limitations caused by knee osteoarthritis. And because they’re natural nutrients, glucosamine and chondroitin have a perfect safety profile — unlike Celebrex, which is a potentially dangerous drug.

You can make bone broth in your own kitchen

Here’s one of the best things about bone broth: You don’t need a prescription for it! All you need is a big pot or a slow cooker, several pounds of bones, some spices and vegetables, and a few hours to let your broth simmer. (Here’s a simple recipe.)

Think about it: What other medicine can help you lose weight, make you look younger, give you more energy, heal your joints, and erase your wrinkles without a prescription, a trip to the drug store, or any side effects other than a warm, happy, satisfied feeling? That’s why bone broth is the core of my weight-loss and anti-aging transformations… and why it should be the core of your own health regimen as well.

Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D., is the author of Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet. A weight-loss and natural anti-aging transformation expert, Dr. Petrucci has a private practice in the Birmingham, Michigan area and is a concierge doctor for celebrities in New York City and Los Angeles. She is a board-certified naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition consultant.

Catch her on PBS on:

Monday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. in Arkansas (AETN-TV),

Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in Georgia (GPB-TV),

Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. in Maryland (MPT-TV), and

Thursday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania (WVIA-TV; WLVT-TV; WQLN-TV)