Most people are familiar with whey protein being derived from milk. Casein is the second protein that can be taken from milk. While whey protein makes up about 20% of the milk protein, Casein makes up the other 80%. The protein levels aren’t the only thing that is different between whey and Casein. Whey protein is digested quickly, while Casein is considered “slow-digesting”. Casein releases amino acids at a much slower speed. This is the main reason why people tend to take Casein prior to bed. This effort is to help the recovery process and reduce muscle breakdown while they sleep since your body isn’t using as much energy and you’re going through a longer period of time without food. Casein is also considered “anti-catabolic”, which means it decreases protein breakdown in the body since it’s slow digesting and releases amino acids at a slower rate. Like whey protein, Casein has been shown in numerous studies to increase muscle growth and strength, and it has also been shown to aid in fat loss.
It is important to note that there are two main types of Casein:
- Micellar Casein: Digested and absorbed slowly
- Casein Hydrolysate: Predigested and rapidly absorbed
So, which Casein is right for you? While both types of Casein provide a full amino acid profile, there is a slight difference when it comes to the releasing process of the amino acids. Micellar Casein is the most commonly used of the two. It supplies a steady release of amino acids over a long period of time, like while you’re sleeping. Casein Hydrolysate on the other hand, is pre-digested and quick acting. This is a great protein to take soon after you’re done working out. When comparing the two casein proteins, one does not succeed over the other. Instead, they balance each other and are used in different scenarios. Taking both Micellar Casein and Casein Hydrolysate is a great option and can help you achieve your fitness and health goals. Not only does Casein aid in the growth and recovery process, but it has been shown to have other benefits. These benefits include reducing high blood pressure, increasing antibacterial and immunity benefits, reducing triglyceride levels, help fight the build up of free radicals by using antioxidant effects, and as mentioned above, aiding in fat loss. Like most dairy products, Casein has little to no side effects. If you currently have liver or kidney disease, protein intake may need to be limited. Some people who are sensitive to dairy may also become bloated or experience other digestive symptoms. Overall, Casein is an extremely underrated source of protein. It’s easy to see that adding Casein to your routine can improve your health and increase your daily protein intake while increasing muscle growth and fat loss.