Having difficulties putting on real muscle mass? Casein can make the real difference and allow you to take your training to the next level. This article explores the benefits of adding casein protein to your diet plan.
Casein is one of the proteins derived from milk. Indeed, casein actually accounts for roughly 80% of the protein found in milk. Just like whey, casein protein has a high biological value which means it has all the essential amino acids necessary for all of your processes that require protein.
The most interesting thing about casein protein is its slow rate of digestion. Casein clots in stomach, forming large globules of protein (1). This slows down the rate of the gastric emptying, which means that the amino acids in the casein protein will enter the bloodstream at a sustained rate.
Scientific studies show that casein protein can take up to 7 hours to digest (2), which is just about as long as the average person sleeps every night. Casein extends the release of amino acids into the bloodstream and improves nitrogen retention (which is necessary for protein synthesis).
Remember, however, that any period spent sleeping is time when your body isn’t getting any new nutrients. As you are probably aware, if you run out of amino acids in your bloodstream your body can start breaking down muscle proteins to fuel itself.
Taking casein protein before going to bed is an excellent way of avoiding protein breakdown and amino acid oxidation. According to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people who take 40 grams of casein 30 minutes before going to bed are able to stimulate their protein synthesis (the process responsible for building muscle) to a higher degree (3).
Many people ask whether they should be taking casein or whey in order to boost their muscle gains. But why not just combine the two? Casein might not have as strong an anabolic effect as whey in terms of its immediacy; however, it can extend its anabolic effects for many hours.
Let’s think about this for a second: whey induces a rapid rise in plasma insulin and concentrations of branched-chain amino acids but casein can extend the release of amino acids up for 7 hours, making sure the body keeps a positive nitrogen balance (4).
Casein protein powders are excellent not just for avoiding muscle catabolism but also for extending the protein synthesis rate. Try combining it with whey protein after your workouts or take it about 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
Note: Myprotein offers high-quality Casein protein powders. You can choose from different forms of casein, such as Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein and Milk Protein Smooth. Free delivery on orders over £50.