Casein - what it is, how it works and how to use it!
Standing right next to whey protein concentrate, it is also a milk protein, but still significantly different from other types of protein. What is the important difference and why it is useful to supplement the diet with casein, see below.
The name casein comes from the Latin word caseus, which means cheese, because it is a substance whose coagulation enables the production of cheese and is the basic protein in it.
Casein is a slowly digestible milk protein that is often taken as a dietary supplement. The main feature is that it is "slow protein", which means that it slowly releases amino acids in the digestive tract. For this reason, athletes most often take it before bedtime to speed up recovery during sleep and reduce muscle breakdown. Casein makes up 80% of milk protein and whey protein the remaining 20%.
It is a protein that is digested slowly, while whey protein is digested quickly. This is the biggest difference between these two very popular milk proteins. Like other proteins of animal origin, casein is a complete source of protein. This means that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and recovery. Casein is a complete protein because it contains all the amino acids that make up a protein. A distinction should be made between a complete protein and its biological value, which depends on the ratio and presence of individual amino acids in it.
Casein contains relatively large amounts of glutamic acid and proline, in addition it contains significant amounts of leucine, lysine, valine and aspartic acid.
There are two main forms of casein:
Micellar casein: This is the most popular form of casein that is digested slowly;
Casein hydrolyzate: This is a form of pre-digested protein that is absorbed faster.
One scoop of protein powder, of 30 grams of casein, contains approximately 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fat (depending on the manufacturer). Casein also contains various micronutrients such as calcium.
After taking casein, the concentrations of amino acids in the blood, especially the key amino acid leucine, remain elevated for up to seven hours after ingestion. The rate of degradation of leucine after taking casein is about 25% higher than after taking whey protein. This means that when you take casein you reduce the total amount of protein that is broken down to get energy. This automatically means a better net balance of protein, which is a key factor for growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
Casein has an anticatabolic effect. Protein breakdown in the body is reduced due to low digestion rate and continuous supply of amino acids to muscles. Similar to whey protein and casein contributes to increased muscle growth and strength combined with strength training. It can also contribute to body fat loss. Like most protein sources, casein is safe for regular use and has long-term health benefits.
You can put casein in a bowl and mix it with water until it gets the consistency of a pudding, then put it in the freezer for five minutes. That way it will get the taste of ice cream, especially if you add some flavor like chocolate or vanilla.
You can also ingest casein by consuming dairy products. Milk, yogurt and cheese are rich in this protein.
Choosing between whey and casein should not create conflict. Both proteins are very similar in amino acid composition, and differ only in the speed of digestion. From a sports science perspective, both of these proteins do different jobs when it comes to igniting sports performance. For this reason, I advise you to use both!