Casein protein is whey protein’s lesser known sibling that doesn’t receive as much time in the spotlight. However, this underappreciated phosphoprotein is one of the most important ones to have in your arsenal. It is the most abundant protein in cow milk and has a lot of industrial uses, most notably in cheese manufacturing.
As a supplement, casein is used because of its efficiency in nutrient supply. It has this intrinsic characteristic where it forms a gel in the stomach. This means it is digested very slowly, and therefore provides a sustained release of amino acids into the blood stream. As a nighttime supplement, few can match its effectiveness.
As far as fat loss goes, casein has been demonstrated to play a role, as one Dutch study concluded. Participants who supplemented their casein intake by two times were reported to have a higher metabolic rate while they slept. They also felt more satiated, meaning they lost fat without ever feeling hungry.
Does It Really Work?
Casein supplement might have a few desirable characteristics, but it has its shortcomings too. Because of its slow release, it is not very anabolic. It does not stimulate protein muscle synthesis as quickly or as powerfully. The anabolic response of any food or supplement is determined by its leucine content, of which casein has a trivial amount.
While casein can be consumed on its own, it works best when it is paired with a whey supplement. Together, the effect is synergistic, and leads to the greatest gains in lean muscle mass. One Texas study sought to verify this supposition by conducting a 10-week long study.
The study subjects were 36 males performing heavy resistance training routines. One group took casein and whey supplements, while the other was taking whey, BCAAs and glutamine. In the end, those who took whey and casein performed better, and had more significant gains in lean muscle mass.
Another Massachusetts study also discovered that the two supplements lead to greater gains in strength, particularly in the large muscle groups such as those found in the legs and chest. This leads to an increase in performance, underling the findings of the aforementioned study.
Suffice it to say that a casein supplement does work. It is the best pre-bed shake that you can get. When used with whey, your body’s protein needs will be sufficiently met, assuming of course, you are observing a good diet as well.
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