Casein is the main protein presented in milk. When milk is separated in order to make cheese whey is the liquid that is extracted & casein is the solid curd that is then formed into cheese.
While whey protein gets a lot of attention, casein is another type of protein that can be just as beneficial to your workouts, your body goals & your muscle recovery.
The Benefits of Casein Protein
- Greater Muscle Retention – When dieting you are always in danger of losing muscle along with the fat. In a study performed in Boston, Mass. Subjects who took casein proved to retain & gain lean muscle over those who were not taking the supplement.
- Greater Fat Loss – According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, protein combined with calcium helped to increase fat burn & energy production.
- Colon Health – A study in Australia showed that dairy proteins such as casein promote colon health when taken daily.
- Higher Quality – A study published by the Journal of Nutrition noted that casein protein is a much higher quality protein than soy.
Doesn’t your body deserve the best?…
Casein or Whey?
Often Casein is referred to as a ‘slow’ protein while whey is referred to as ‘fast’ protein.
The reason behind this is that when you ingest whey protein, the level of amino acids in your blood reaches a high point in about 20-40 minutes.
When you ingest casein on the other hand, the blood reaches a peak in amino acids & protein synthesis about 3-4 hours later.
Which is better?
Your knee-jerk reaction may be ‘fast is always better!’ But this isn’t necessarily the case. Remember:
“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” – Moliere
Honestly, it depends on the time of day & what you are doing. Muscle growth is dependent on the balance of protein synthesis & breakdown & casein drastically slows the rate of protein breakdown giving your muscles a small dose at a time.
Therefore it is ideal to use both whey & casein proteins in combination in order to harness the unique biologic effects of both.
Whey protein is great before & after a workout to help give your muscles that quick recovery boost at the point they most need it.
Casein however, has proven to promote sustained anti-catabolic activity while you sleep – so it’s great to take right before bed.
Why Not Drink Them Together?…
You would think by mixing the two protein types into one ‘power drink’ you’d get the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as casein coagulates in the stomach & slows down the digestion & absorption of whey protein if they are both ingested at the same time.
Does quality matter?…
Definitely. Always make sure that you are getting the highest quality possible when it comes to a supplement you are relying on for performance & health.
What If You Are Lactose Intolerant?…
Not a problem. According to C.R. Southward of the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute, Casein contains just 0.1 percent of lactose therefore casein will not cause a reaction.
The Bottom Line…
The bottom line is that both whey protein & casein protein are helpful to the body in different ways & it’s great to use both at different times.
Reach for whey protein as a snack or after workouts & give your body the benefit of casein protein all night long by drinking it just before bed.
Together, you are setting your muscles & your body up for the greatest success possible before, during & after workouts.