Casein is a form of protein commonly found in mammals milk, including human breast milk. Generally speaking, casein makes up around 80% of the protein found in cow’s milk (the other 20% being whey). Casein also contains a great deal of bioactive peptides, is calcium rich and is anti-catabolic in nature.
Due to its ability to form a clot, or gel in the stomach, casein is a highly appreciated dietary supplement within the health and fitness industry. This is because the clot is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the bloodstream which can last for up to several hours, this results in longer periods of after eating satiety. In other words, you feel fuller for longer.
Benefits of Casein Protein
Casein is an excellent method of ensuring you reach your daily protein requirement.
Casein provides you with a complete amino acid profile.
Casein is a fantastic protein source to promote satiety.
Casein can help with the muscle building and/or maintenance.
Casein does not have cause an amino acid spike and so less protein is wasted or oxidized.
Other Sources of Casein
Aside from supplement powders and milk, you can also get a good amount from other diary food sources such as cheese, cream and yoghurt. Some fish, for example tuna does contain casein, albeit in much, much smaller quantities.
When to Take Casein
As with whey protein, casein can be taken at any time of the day, the point to remember is that due to casein’s slower digestion period, you will feel fuller for longer. However, also due to the slower digestion period, it may be more beneficial to take whey immediately post workout as it’s considered a fast protein source meaning it causes a rapid increase in amino acid levels in the body.
Studies indicate that taking casein before bed is a good idea if your goal is to build muscle, as your rest period is your body’s greatest opportunity to repair the muscle you’ve broken down in the gym. It must be noted however that the difference between taking casein or whey before bed won’t be that gigantic, merely that casein is better suited for the task given the longer digestion period.
Micellar Casein or Hydrolyzed Casein
Micellar casein is the least adulterated form of supplemental casein, i.e. it is the native form of casein found in milk. It is left in its “intact” molecular structure. This is important as it this is why casein is able to form a clot and therefore be digested at a slower rate.
Hydrolysis is a process that breaks down the proteins into smaller peptides, or amino acid chains. Due to this breakdown, the body is able to digest this form much more quickly. Given that one of the best reasons for choosing casein is because of the slow abortion rate, it may be better to choose whey when protein is needed fast.
Also, hydrolyzed casein is going to ultimately cost you more.
*The views and/or opinions expressed in the blogs are not necessarily those of Training Nation, but of the author