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Casein Protein Powder

Casein protein has become popular due to the fact that it digests over a longer period of time than standard whey protein concentrates or isolates. Because it is a slow digesting protein, it sustains blood and muscle amino acids for much longer. There are many types of casein, including milk protein concentrate (which is the whole-milk protein containing 80% casein and 20% whey), calcium caseinate and micellar casein to name a few. Bodybuilders typically take them before bed so to reduce the overnight muscle catabolism that occurs during fasting. However, this is not the only way casein can be used.

 

It is important to note that casein, due to the large molecular size and complexity, can be hard to digest for some individuals. It may be worth trying a small portion first before moving to a full serve before bed. Alternatively, it can be used just like a regular protein powder throughout the day, if tolerable. Casein-based protein powder shakes can also be more filling than other protein powders, which can make them useful as an appetite suppressant when taken as a snack, or to replace one meal per day.

 

It has been a long held contention that casein is inferior to whey protein when taken after, or even before, exercise. Theoretically this makes a great deal of sense, given the fact that we do not want to overload our digestive tract during training, and that we ideally want a rapidly absorbed protein to take after training, so that the amino acids get to where we want them fast, which is muscle. However, research by the prestigious Journal of Sports Science and Medicine indicates that both types of protein deliver the same results when taken before and after exercise. However, other research indicates that the muscle protein synthetic response of casein is somewhat lower than that of hydrolysed whey protein—93% lower to be exact.

 

Regardless, casein is actually a high quality protein containing all of the essential amino acids, three of which are the branched chain amino acids, and one of which is the all-important mTOR activator leucine. It is a popular product for use before bed, so that it can sustain muscle tissue throughout the night, which is normally considered a fasting period in which the body becomes catabolic. Though as research is indicating, it uses certainly extend well beyond this.

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