Whey protein is the most popular source of protein for supplementation, but recently, Micellar Casein protein has been gaining more attention. Fitness enthusiasts know the beneficial effects of supplementing with whey protein after a workout, as whey protein supplementation can lead to an increase in muscle hypertrophy and many other benefits that have been well-documented over the years. However, some weightlifters may not be fully aware of the benefits of supplementing with casein protein, and therefore don’t use it.
Casein protein can be great for active individuals that need more calories or protein in their diet, especially for a slow-release protein source at night-time, or longer workouts during the day.
In this article, we’ll be discussing what is casein protein along with the benefits it provides.
What is Micellar Casein?
Casein protein is the protein found in the curds of milk and is slowly absorbed by the body. This contrasts with the most popular supplement on the sports nutrition market, whey protein, which is used for its fast absorption rate. Casein has earned the name ‘the bedtime protein‘ because it is most commonly consumed before sleep to provide the body with a slow-releasing source of protein over an extended period of time.
Whey vs. Casein
If you’ve been to the gym, then the likelihood is that you’ve bought a whey protein-based product. The fast absorption rate makes it the perfect post-workout snack, as having a whey protein shake straight after your workout almost immediately fuels protein synthesis to help your recovery and stimulate muscle growth.
Casein has fallen under the radar as a result of whey’s dominance when it comes to protein powders. But there are many benefits to having a slow-absorbing protein.
The Benefits of Casein
By supplementing with casein just before going to sleep, the casein can be absorbed throughout the night, fuelling the muscles and contributing to muscle-protein synthesis over the 6-8 hours of rest. When you’re asleep, you’re not ingesting food or protein. This can be beneficial to anyone who is training regularly.
Casein protein consumption before sleep has been shown within scientific research to result in an increase in muscle-protein synthesis after a workout. If you’re an individual who engages in long, strenuous workouts, then casein supplementation can also be beneficial to fuel your muscles with protein for the duration.
The slow absorption makes casein great for night time consumption. For example, a study undertaken by Snijders et al. (2015) demonstrated that post-resistance training gains in muscle mass and strength are shown to be further increased after daily supplementation with 27.5g of dietary casein protein, consumed prior to sleep. This shows that casein supplementation can further augment the skeletal muscle adaptive response to prolonged resistance training.
Should You Use Casein?
If you can afford to add Micellar Casein protein to your stack, then it’s worth it to maximise muscle growth and repair. However, you should still supplement with whey protein after your workout. Using a product like Thewhey, with 25g of protein per serving, makes a great post-workout shake to help you build muscle and recover.
Micellar Casein protein is more beneficial prior to bed-time. A combination of whey and casein supplementation can lead to an increase in protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy. I personally believe more people would supplement with casein if they were more knowledgeable about the benefits it provides.
Micellar Casein is considered a high-quality protein that increases lean muscle mass. Many weightlifters want to increase muscle while maintaining a lean physique, and casein can help them reach this goal. One of the main goals for weightlifters is to increase their muscle hypertrophy, which casein supplementation can enhance.
What Products Do We Recommend?
- Micellar Casein: This high-quality Micellar Casein product delivers 23g of slow-releasing protein with a complete amino acid profile. Enjoy between meals or just before bed with milk.
- Milk Protein Smooth: Milk Protein Smooth is made up of 78% micellar casein at a 4:1 ratio of casein to whey. This means you get a large dose of slow-absorbing protein along with the fast absorption of whey. This is a great product to use if you workout late at night or there is a large amount of time between your dinner and going to bed without eating a main meal.
Take Home Message
Casein is perfect before bed-time to provide a slow-releasing protein source as you sleep. If your goal is to increase muscle mass, then casein is a great addition to your supplement stack.