What is Casein?
Casein is one of the two proteins that make up dairy protein (the other being whey protein). Out of the 'curds and the whey' of milk, Casein protein is the curds. In the human diet, casein is found in yogurts, cheeses, dairy products as well as numerous nutritional supplements, such as protein supplements, sauces and pre-prepared meals.
Casein is the slower digesting protein of cows milk. It takes much longer to reach the bloodstream and releases smaller amounts of protein over time. This also means it stays in the bloodstream for much longer—about eight hours compared to whey’s three. It also has more muscle preserving properties than whey.
Benefits of consuming casein protein
- Slow digestion rate of proteins
- Reduces the breakdown of muscle
- Contains dairy calcium (for bone health)
Some disadvantages that people might see are that slow digestion can be a negative thing when training as you are trying to absorb amino acids into your body quickly.
Casein or Whey Protein?
The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting which protein you buy is your overall protein intake. So neither whey or casein is really better than the other as long as your reaching your protein consumption goals. In saying that, whey is better for protein synthesis and growth, is usually easier to consume, tastes better, and is cheaper. Casein on the other hand is better for reducing muscle protein breakdown; so a combination of both is ideal.
Which Casein should I choose?
There are three types of casein proteins available on the market today: milk protein isolate, calcium caseinate or micellar casein.
- Calcium caseinate- lowest quality form of casein and is commonly sold as a food ingredient.
- Milk protein isolates- a mixture of casein and whey proteins. They have the ability to assimilate both rapidly and slowly. Generally, they are concentrated at more than 85% of proteins retaining the same proportions between whey (20%) and casein (80%) as milk.
- Micellar casein- the purest form available on the market. It exists in its natural form and is more easily digested and assimilated by the body.
Micellar, the casein protein of choice
Micellar casein is a slow-release protein (anabolic) because it gels in the small intestine and is released gradually to the muscles over a six or seven-hour span. The composition of micellar casein is excellent in terms of quality, in respect to the other two sources of casein. It has an excellent amino acid profile and is particularly rich in BCAAs (branched chain amino acids, composed of leucine, isoleucine and valine). These amino acids are said to be essential because they can not be synthesised by the body and must therefore be provided by the diet and more particularly by supplements. Lastly, it is also very low in fat and carbohydrates which makes it an excellent source of calcium for bone protection.
Using Casein for bodybuilding
Bodybuilders particularly like casein and use it as a slow-assimilating protein in order to facilitate muscle regeneration and optimise recovery. Thus, it is not uncommon to see bodybuilders consume it before going to bed or 3 hours after a meal to provide muscles with a quantity of proteins and amino acids in the long term in order to avoid muscle breakdown.
Use whey protein supplements post workout, and use casein before you go to sleep to help preserve hard-earned muscle mass..
Casein should be combined with other proteins for better absorption.
Its generally not advised to take Casein protein when you are trying to increase your amino acid absorption.
When purchasing casein powder, it is necessary to check the lists of ingredients, the manufacturing process used and the nutritional composition.
100% Casein ComplexDiscount -14%From £21.45View ProductFrom £21.45
Casein Pure MicellarFrom £29.90View ProductFrom £29.90
Casein ZeroFrom £31.90View ProductFrom £31.90
Gold Standard 100% CaseinDiscount -20%From £14.24View ProductFrom £14.24
Micellar Casein£19.95View Product£19.95
Mutant Micellar CaseinDiscount -16%£41.99View Product£41.99
Night Pro£23.90View Product£23.90
Pure 100% Casein£44.29View Product£44.29