When it comes to supplements, protein powder should sit at the very top of your list.
See, if your goal relates to building muscle, developing strength, and getting the most out of your training, making sure that your protein intake is sufficient is absolutely integral.
In short, if you are not providing your body with enough protein to repair and rebuild after training, then you are leaving gains on the table -- and when it comes to protein supplements, micellar casein is a great option.
What is Casein?
Casein is a particular type of protein that is derived from dairy milk.
Casein in its entirety is considered to be a “complete protein” source, which means that it provides your body with a full array of essential amino acids (i.e. the building blocks of your cells), rather than just one or two.
Now, dairy milk has various components, including water, lactose, vitamins and minerals, and finally, some very distinct proteins -- one of which is casein.
The kicker is that casein is found in the solid part of the milk, which makes it difficult to obtain -- unless we are making cheese.
When cheese is made, it starts off as dairy milk, before undergoing a number of unique production processes. During these processes, the liquid component of the milk is separated from the solid to make it thicker. And then finally, the thickest curds are fully extracted to ensure it does not go lumpy.
While these curds were once considered to be a useless by-product of cheese production, they are now washed and dried to create casein protein powder.
What is Micellar Casein?
Something that is worth addressing is the fact that once casein is extracted from the milk it can be turned into one of three types of casein based protein powders.
The first is Calcium caseinate.
You can think of this as pure casein. It is very simply the protein extracted from the solid portion of milk (i.e. the curds), which then gets purified before being sold as a supplement.
Because it has undergone minimal processing, it is not all that well absorbed. Subsequently, it is considered to be the lowest quality form of casein supplement, and is more commonly used as a food ingredient.
Second on the list we have Micellar casein.
Micellar Casein undergoes an extensive purification process, making it the most well absorbed type of casein protein available. Interestingly, because it is derived from curds, micellar casein actually clumps a little in the stomach.
While this may not sound like a good thing, it is very beneficial because it allows the protein content of the powder to be released gradually into your muscle tissue over the course of six to seven hours.
It is this slow rate of digestion that arguably makes casein such a desirable supplement. Taking micellar casein before bed can keep muscle protein synthesis high over the duration of the night, leading to better recovery and growth.
If you are after a “pure” casein supplement, then micellar casein is the perfect choice.
Last on the list we have milk protein powder.
With this in mind, it is composed of about 80 percent casein, and 20 percent whey. The addition of whey makes milk protein faster digesting that micellar casein -- which means it might make a slightly better option post workout.
Nutritional Information of Micellar Casein
As with most protein powders, micellar casein is full of protein (duh), while also containing very small amounts of fats and carbohydrates. While the precise breakdown of these differs slightly between brands, you can guarantee that they will be more similar than they are different.
For example, the Amino Z micellar casein contains 81.5 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.3 grams of fat, per 100 grams of protein powder.
All of which suggests that a single serving of micellar casein will give you a potent dose of amino acids that your body can use to make gains.
The Benefits of Micellar Casein
As I have already alluded to, taking a micellar casein supplement on a regular basis can offer a number of significant benefits.
1. Improved Muscle Growth
Arguably the biggest positive associated with micellar casein supplementation relates to its ability to increase protein intake, and consequently improve muscle growth.
A recently published meta-analysis combined the results of 49 individual studies and found that the minimal protein intake required to maximise muscle growth is about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, per day .
And please note that I said this was the minimum amount to optimise muscle growth.
Further research has indicated that going as high as 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight may have additional benefits  -- especially for people who are actively trying to maintain as much muscle as possible while maximising fat loss.
This means that if you weigh 80kgs, you should be eating somewhere between 128 and 176 grams of protein each day.
As a result, consuming micellar casein can have an immediate impact on your rate of muscle growth by ensuring you are reaching your daily protein targets.
2. Better Recovery
This point builds upon the previous one in a fairly logical manner.
Protein is essential for the repair of damaged muscle tissue. While this has obvious implications for muscle growth, it also facilitates recovery after training.
Importantly, because micellar casein is absorbed slowly into the body, it provides a steady stream of amino acids into the bloodstream that can be used for muscle recovery. As a result, it makes it the perfect option to speed up recovery between training sessions.
Over the long term this can have huge implications for your progress, because it ensures that all of your training sessions are completed at a high intensity, and not impacted negatively by fatigue.
3. Reduced Risk of Disease and Illness
Our last benefit is a little bit unique -- but that does not make it any less important.
Micellar casein contains several unique compounds that can have some huge benefits with respect to your general health and function.
Casein is full to the brim of unique bioactive peptides that have been shown to improve immune system function and digestive system health . This will not only improve your ability to absorb the nutrients in the food you eat, but is also likely to stop you getting sick -- which is a great way to keep training consistently year round.
Moreover, some of these compounds have also been shown to lower blood pressure, which has a very positive impact on your cardiovascular health .
While this may not sound that important when it comes to making gains, it does suggest that micellar casein could have some significant benefits on keeping you disease free -- which is the key to making progress well into your eighties.
So, if you are interested in both maximising progress and optimising health, this is your answer.
Casein is a unique type of protein that has some seriously positive benefits when it comes to maximising muscle growth, enhancing post exercise recovery, and even improving immune system function and cardiovascular health.
And micellar casein is hands down the most effective type of casein protein supplement -- so if you want to take your results to the next level, look no further.
- Morton, Robert W., et al. "A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults." British journal of sports medicine 52.6 (2018): 376-384.
- Stokes, Tanner, et al. "Recent perspectives regarding the role of dietary protein for the promotion of muscle hypertrophy with resistance exercise training." Nutrients 10.2 (2018): 180.
- Mohanty, D. P., et al. "Milk derived bioactive peptides and their impact on human health–A review." Saudi journal of biological sciences 23.5 (2016): 577-583.
- Fekete, Ágnes A., D. Ian Givens, and Julie A. Lovegrove. "Casein-derived lactotripeptides reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in a meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials." Nutrients 7.1 (2015): 659-681.