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Casein Protein Powder

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About 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 acid levels 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 to reduce the overnight muscle breakdown that occurs during this normal fasting period. Apart from setting your alarm for 2 am and taking another whey protein shake, this is pretty much the only way to slow down the sleeping catabolism of muscle protein. 


It is important to note that casein, due to the large and complex size of the protein structure, can be tough 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. 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 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 exercise 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, which is certainly good news for casein protein enthusiasts. However, other research indicates that the muscle protein synthetic response of hyrolysed whey protein is 93% higher than casein protein, as reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology, 1985.


Regardless, casein is a high quality protein containing all of the essential amino acids, three of which are 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. If you want to try a lighter casein, the calcium caseinate or micellar casein are better options, while milk protein concentrate or isolate will deliver the full sustained-release effect.