If you have been following MyFitFuel Blog since some time now, then you may have come across several articles regarding whey protein nutrition. But now that it’s 2017, you may want to learn something new, like for instance – Casein Protein. So, here’s MyFitFuel as your nutrition guide covering everything from ‘what is casein protein’ to benefits of casein in this article. Here’s everything you need to know –
What is Casein Protein?
Casein Protein is the type of protein that is primarily found in cow’s milk. It accounts for 80% of the total protein obtained from cow’s milk.
Unsurprisingly, casein protein is well-off with both essential and non-essential types of amino acids. However, unlike other forms of protein like whey protein and hydrolysate whey protein, casein protein contains moderately low amounts of branched chain amino acids.
Casein Protein has a low biological value (BV) – the rate at which the digested protein absorbed from the food can be utilized in protein synthesis in the body. A low BV of casein protein indicates its slow-digesting nature.
The amino acids present in casein protein get digested in your body over a period of five to seven hours. Thus, casein acts as a steady and continuous fuel source for your body, which is why it is also known as anti-catabolic.
Casein protein does not have amino spiking properties, meaning less amount of protein goes to waste and ultimately reduction in whole body protein breakdown. However, casein protein is known to show decreased muscle protein synthesis rates compared to whey protein.
Are you sorted out with ‘what is casein?’ Now, let’s see some of the major casein protein benefits for bodybuilding and general health.
Benefits of Casein Protein for Bodybuilding
1) Casein Protein is a stable energy source
There’s no denying the fact that all proteins, whether whey, casein, soy, pea or hemp, are created differently and about which I have discussed deeply in this article – A comprehensive guide to different types of Protein.
Casein protein is a stable source of energy because of its ability to create a positive overall protein balance by elevating amino acid supply in the body for a long duration.
In plain English, compared to its counterparts, casein protein takes a considerable long time to digest. And because of this slow-digesting nature, taking casein protein before bed benefits with an uninterrupted and steady supply of amino acids to your muscles for several hours.
2) Casein Protein is advantageous for Fat Loss
Yes, you heard that right. A research carried out by Brigham and Women’s Hospital on the effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers observed that the officers who consumed casein protein had higher mean fat loss compared to those placed under placebo or consumed whey protein.
Researchers were of the opinion that – “This significant difference in body composition and strength is likely due to improved nitrogen retention and overall anti-catabolic effects caused by the peptide components of the casein hydrolysate.”
Apart from this, increase in casein protein intake by over two and half times, lead to 33% higher satiety levels for the subjects who participated in this study. The increase in satiety levels is beneficial for body weight management.
3) Casein Protein improves Strength
Undoubtedly, the majority of the people use supplements to either build strength or increase stamina. After several years of study, casein protein has shown significant results in this field. Recall the study I mentioned in the previous point where overweight police officers were put on a hypocaloric diet and increased protein intake. The study not only showed benefits of casein protein for fat loss but also concluded that the mean increase in strength for chest, shoulder, and legs was higher in officers who consumed casein than those who took whey protein.
Researchers believed that it was due to anti-catabolic properties of casein protein that helped the body to minimize the amount of muscle breakdown and thereby optimize overall strength and performance.
4) Casein Protein supports Greater Lean Muscle Mass Retention
If you have ever been on a low-calorie diet, then you may have noticed some of your lean muscle gains gradually dying. Since your body has been running low on calories, it’s very difficult for it to preserve your lean muscle mass.
But, the good news is that according to this recent study, a combination of casein protein and whey protein came out to be the best option for individuals wanting to retain maximum lean muscle mass on a hypocaloric (low-calorie) diet. This finding was confirmed through a ten-week long study where one group of subjects ingested a blend of whey and casein protein while the second group received a blend of bcaas, whey, and glutamine supplements.
5) Health Benefits of Casein Protein
Apart from bodybuilding benefits, casein protein has also been widely studied for its positive implications on overall health. Casein Protein has shown to benefit colon health and promote good dental health by preventing the down-sides of enamel erosion.
6) Benefits of Casein Protein at Night
Let me assume that you usually have your last meal of the day just 2-3 hours before bedtime. After waking up, you may take an hour or so before finally making up for the breakfast. But, by this time, your body has probably turned catabolic due to an inadequate supply of nutrition while you were asleep.
Thus, to save your body from turning catabolic, repair muscles and, make gains throughout the night, it becomes crucial to consume a slow-digesting protein like casein protein which can rightfully fuel your muscles while you are sleeping.
In simple terms, casein protein is a must-have supplement for every individual who wants to make the most out of their fitness routine. Not only does casein act as a reliable source of energy but also provides a whole lot of other benefits. Go by the simple rule of thumb that says, consume casein protein as a meal replacement or before sleeping for best fitness results.
Also published on Medium.