What is Casein Protein?
Milk is made up of two different types of proteins - casein and whey.
Whey is arguably more commonly known, but casein actually makes up around 80% of the protein found in milk.
What makes these two proteins distinct from each other is the rate at which they can be digested. Roughly speaking, whey is digested quite quickly by the body.
Types of Casein Protein
There are two types of casein:
- Micellar casein
- Casein Hydrolysate
Micellar Casein protein is the most commonly known and most widely taken form. It bunches into small balls called micelles in the stomach which are digested slowly.
Casein hydrolysate on the other hand is predigested and best to use for quicker digestion.
Is Casein Protein Better Than Whey?
Like we mentioned above, casein and whey are both derived from milk and so they have a lot in common. Neither one is ‘better’ than the other. They both can be used for different purposes working towards the same goal - muscle mass.
The important difference to reiterate between the two is that whey is “faster” and casein is “slower”. But slow in this context isn’t bad. Let’s take a closer look.
Casein is often used by bodybuilders at night time because it’s a lot ‘gentler’ on the body’s muscles. Instead of a rush of protein straight after a workout, it can slowly drip feed protein into the body while sleeping.
Whey protein on the other hand is digested a lot faster. This rush of protein can be effective, but it causes your muscles to work a lot harder to digest the protein. Not the best thing for your body at certain times of day.
What they have in common is that they’re both extremely beneficial to your immune system. For example, casein contains bioactive peptides. These work to lower blood pressure, reduce blood clots, as well as ease digestion.
Whey on the other hand is rich in immunoglobulins which are key in maintaining a healthy immune system. They act to destroy any sign of bacteria or viruses as well the transportation of nutrients.
Neither one is ‘better’, but both can help you in different ways.
Benefits Of Casein Protein
There are a lot of benefits to casein protein, not least is its slow-acting breakdown in the body’s systems. This slow digestion gives your body the time it needs to absorb and synthesise the protein into useful muscle mass.
The following are the main benefits:
- Muscle Growth
- Fat Loss
- Faster recovery times
- Dental protection
Importantly for your purposes, casein protein is known to promote and boost muscle growth and weight gain.
We mentioned at the top, casein protein contains essential amino acids that the body can’t make on its own. It also stimulates healthy, natural muscle growth. Taking this supplement at night after a workout will allow slow-releasing protein synthesis while you sleep.
There have also been studies to suggest that regularly taking casein protein may contribute towards fat burning. By using casein protein supplements in combination with a balanced diet and set training schedule you can lose fat quicker.
Faster Recovery Times
By supplementing with casein protein you can help your muscles to repair and maintain themselves after hard gym sessions. During workouts, muscle fibres and tissues are damaged and they need amino acids and protein to repair themselves. Casein protein provides a way to slowly rebuild muscles by maintaining a steady supply of these essential nutrients.
Casein, like whey, comes from milk and we all know how important calcium is to our teeth. In addition, casein protein has phosphate and hydroxide which may strengthen enamel and fight against acid erosion and other tooth damage.
Side Effects Of Casein Protein
In the past, it has been suggested that a high protein intake contributes to poor health. However, this has been shown in various studies to not be the case. Those with pre-existing liver or kidney conditions are advised to limit their protein intake though.
Healthy individuals who consume excessive amounts of casein protein may begin to feel bloated and have poor digestion. If this is the case, please limit the amount you are taking.
As long as you are taking a responsible amount of casein protein then you shouldn’t notice any side effects.
How Much Casein Protein Should You Take?
On average it’s recommended that individuals do not exceed between 25 and 50 grams (1-2 scoops) of casein protein per day. You may find you need more or less casein protein, so adjust accordingly.