Casein protein is another protein supplement that, while certainly not unpopular, isn't talked about nearly as often as whey protein. Because of this, many people do not understand the benefits casein protein can have for them.
Casein protein is a dairy protein, like whey protein. However, casein is well-known for its slow-digesting components, whereas whey protein has become the golden child due to its fast absorbing abilities. So why use casein protein if you already use whey protein?
It's a Great Tool to Use before Going to Bed
When you are going to sleep, you are entering a state of fasting for around 8 hours, depending on how long you sleep. On top of that comes the factor of how soon you eat after you wake up, which could extend the fast.
In order to prime your body for growth, you need to be feeding the body the nutrients it needs to create an anabolic state. Including casein into your diet before going to bed is an excellent way to keep your body supplied with high-quality protein, and it is also slow-digesting, which means it will fuel your muscles for a longer period of time.
While this means that whey protein is clearly the better choice after resistance training, it also means that casein protein can be very effective at times when you are not going to be eating food again for a while. And if this is after exercise, don't worry: studies show that casein protein is also effective at starting protein synthesis after exercise, just like whey protein1. While whey protein will reach your muscles quicker, casein can be used effectively if eating after exercise does not seem to be an option.
For added benefit, be sure to include BCAA's after exercise as well, which will help prevent muscle breakdown.
Greater Fat Loss
When trying to lose fat, it is important to also have a good balance between protein intake and calcium intake. This helps to preserve muscle mass while in a caloric deficit, not to mention all of the benefits calcium has on the body.
Casein protein powder has good amounts of both calcium and protein, which makes it easier on you. By supplementing your caloric deficit with casein, you are helping to maintain a good balance between the two, helping to preserve quality muscle mass while burning the fat away.
Great Combination with Whey Protein
People are always searching for the fastest way possible to build muscle. After all, everyone wants to be strong and look strong, and we don't want to waste our time doing unnecessary things.
Well, one study that came out showed that combining whey and casein post-exercise can greatly enhance lean muscle mass gains2. This is due to the two having different benefits that actually blend very well together, since whey being fast acting, while casein protein takes longer.
As you can see, casein is actually a very versatile form of protein that can be included multiple ways into your current diet. By using it before bedtime, or post-workout with a whey protein, you are adding another layer of benefits onto your current nutrition regimen, and will help facilitate more muscle growth, and even fat loss.
- Tipton, K. D., Elliott, T. A., Cree, M. G., Wolf, S. E., Sanford, A. P., & Wolfe, R. R. (n.d.). Ingestion of Casein and Whey Proteins Result in Muscle Anabolism after Resistance Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
- Kerksick, C. M., Rasmussen, C. J., Lancaster, S. L., Magu, B., Smith, P., Melton, C., . . . Kreider, R. B. (n.d.). The effects of protein and amino acid supplementation on performance and training adaptations during ten weeks of resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.