Slow digesting form of protein that comes from milk and provides a sustained release of amino acids in the bloodstream preventing muscle breakdown.
What Is It?
Casein is a form of dairy protein and accounts for roughly 80% of the total protein content found in cow's milk. Similar to whey, it's rich in all the essential amino acids required by the body for muscle protein synthesis, MPS.
However, unlike whey protein, casein is incredibly slow digesting. When ingested, casein forms a clot or gel in the stomach which decreases the rate of gastric emptying. Basically, this provides a longer, more sustained release of proteins into the bloodstream. Due to the sustained release, casein protein is often the primary choice for bodybuilders and athletes as a late night snack before going to bed, as it provides a steady flow of amino acids to the body while you sleep, keeping you in an anabolic (muscle-building) state.
Casein protein has also been shown to sustain elevated amino acid levels for six or seven hours following ingestion and exerts a strong anti-catabolic effect which inhibits muscle tissue. damage. Furthermore, since casein takes longer to digest than whey, it provides a more filling feeling in the body than drinking a regular whey shake.
Different Types of Casein
If you've looked on the back of your tub of protein powder, you've probably seen at least two types: Micellar Casein and Calcium Caseinate.
Micellar Casein is casein protein that has been naturally isolated from milk, i.e. without the use of chemicals which could contaminate the casein proteins. Calcium Caseinate, on the other hand, is produced when an alkaline substance (Calcium) is reacted with the casein. This process increases the mineral content of casein, and increases its solubility.
Calcium caseinate will digest slightly faster than micellar casein, but still much slower than any form of whey protein.
Benefits of Casein Protein
Full profile of essential and nonessential amino acids
More filling than whey protein
Supports muscle growth
Sustained release of amino acids
Ideal pre-bed snack
Highest glutamine content of all protein powders
Typically, casein is included as part of a protein blend along with whey, egg albumin, and various other types of powders. Pure casein powders do exist though, and most contain between 25-30g of protein per scoop.
Whey protein gets all the attention as being the ideal choice for bodybuilders, athletes, and gym rats to help build muscle. While this is true, casein deserves just as much attention and praise as whey. Both provide a rich supply of amino acids to fuel muscle growth and prevent catabolism. Where casein really shines, is that it provides a much more filling and satiating experience than whey. Casein protein leaves you feeling full for up to 6 hours post ingestion, something whey only wishes it could provide.
If you're looking for a pre bed meal or a small snack to hold you over between meals, casein is the ideal high-protein, low-calorie choice.