Casein is a high quality protein. It is often used in various protein supplements and MRPs. Although not as common as whey, casein is an excellent source of the most important amino acids your body needs for keeping and building further muscle mass. With a glutamine content of 20.5%, casein exceeds other popular protein sources including whey, soy or egg proteins.
caseinate; caseinate protein; casein
Where you can find casein
Casein is the substance that develops in the highest amounts during the coagulation of cow milk. Basically this is the process when casein is separated from whey.
Impact on improving performance
Why athletes use casein
There is unequivocal proof for the fact that the protein needs of athletes are higher, due to the stress caused by intense exercising (regardless of the type of sport). And, besides other functions, protein is inevitable for increasing muscle mass as well as recovery. Casein is an excellent source of the quality protein athletes need.
Due to its excellent quality and biological value, casein is a popular compound of protein powders and MRPs. So, you might not even need to search for it: pick a protein product and it will most likely contain casein.
How casein facilitates muscle gains and recovery:
- It helps keep muscle mass during intense training cycles
- As an excellent protein source, it supports muscle gains and recovery
- It provides essential amino acids including the anabolic glutamine it contains in a high concentration
Symptoms of casein deficiency
No known deficiency symptoms.
Based on studies, casein may be useful in the treatment of the following symptoms:
- Catabolism (loss of muscle)
Although it’s been available for quite a while, casein is still considered a “late star” of protein supplements. Casein is a common ingredient of protein powders or MRPs as caseinate (this is an acidic form which is often combined with sodium, calcium or potassium). Based on the latest research, this fantastic protein does not only provide you the amino acids you need for maintaining your muscle mass during intense workout, but it is also supported by multiple evidences that it can be a great help at bulking, too.
The natural source of casein (in a small amount) is cottage cheese. It is most commonly found in protein powders and MRPs. It is particularly rich in the anti-catabolic amino acid glutamine, which supports the immune system, too. The glutamine content of casein is pretty high: 20.5% – higher than the values of whey, soy or egg white. Furthermore, it is also an excellent source of arginine, which is well known for supporting growth hormone production.
And since casein has the highest tyrosine-tryptophan ratio (close to 5:1) of all proteins, it has the highest stimulating effect. Plus, it can suppress hunger, too. This is due to the fact that tyrosine is commonly known as a “stimulant” amino acid which boosts chemical signs in the brain, causing a feeling of satiety and satisfaction.
An excellent protein source
At times of intense workout, your body needs more protein to prevent muscle catabolism and to supply the necessary amino acids, thus helping your muscles become bigger and stronger. Based on research, this protein is best consumed an hour after workout to ensure the optimal absorption of anabolic amino acids. Since casein can be found in many protein powders and MRPs and is much cheaper than many proteins that can be found in natural sources, many active people find it useful, as a protein drink, for example.
It is also a good idea to consume casein before bed. Casein is digested much slower than other types of protein (for example, whey, which absorbs very quickly). Since it forms a gel-like substance in the intestines, which slows down absorption, it is almost like a "time-released” protein. This means, four hours later (late at night), it is still supplying your muscles with anabolic protein and amino acids, shortening “fasting” time while prolonging anabolic processes and nitrogen retention.
However, scientists agree that to ensure the best results, it may be a good idea to consume casein along with whey during the day. This popular protein combination is typical in MRPs (in the “proprietary protein blend”, as you can find it on the label) and many protein powders, too.
An even better alternative for casein?
Thanks to technology, an even better casein is available, namely Micellar™ casein. Instead of the common warming procedure, casein is extracted from milk using cold filtration, using a group of enzymes in a process called nanofiltration, which ensures no denaturation takes place in the casein (and the protein matrix will remain intact). Using this process, protein structure can be spared better than in other processes, which ensures further immune-boosting and anabolic properties.
So, this “special” form of casein may be an “ultimate” solution in the “hierarchy” of proteins (if there is such a thing). Note: You can tell your protein contains this high-tech casein if the term “Micellar” is displayed on the label. Nevertheless, the price of these products are much higher, while research is only in the initial phase, so no final conclusions can be drawn yet.
Although casein is an excellent protein source, it contains some lactose (milk sugar), so it is not the best for you if you are lactose intolerant. People with milk protein allergies should refrain from products with casein, too.
It can be really challenging to satisfy the protein needs of the body, especially for active people, who need about 2-3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, scientists say. But fortunately, science presented us a protein source that is right for its purpose, not expensive and highly nourishing.
Indications for use
Based on research, people who exercise intensely need about 2-3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
Casein may be consumed any time of the day to boost protein intake. However, it can be more beneficial to eat it before bed, since it is digested slowly, helping the body bind amino acids more efficiently.
Many users reported that unlike whey, casein caused them a feeling of fullness, because of its “gel” properties. This is the reason casein passes through the intestinal system much slower (in other words, its transit time is much longer), so it ensures you feel sated longer. This can be an advantage for those on low-calorie diets.
Synergists of casein
No known synergists.
Do not use casein if you are allergic to milk or caseinates.
No known toxicity.
Contra-indication and restrictions
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