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Alongside whey, casein is probably the most commonly used protein powder. Many athletes prefer casein to an ordinary whey shake, depending on the situation.Show full detailsOriginal price €28,90Original price €28,90 - Original price €28,90Original price €28,90Current price €25,72€25,72 - €25,72Current price €25,72|/Sold out
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Creamy & delicious micellar casein protein with long-term supply Contains 80 %* first-class milk protein. Mainly supports the ...Show full detailsOriginal price €34,90Original price €34,90 - Original price €34,90Original price €34,90Current price €31,06€31,06 - €31,06Current price €31,06|/Save 11% now Save now
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Efficient overnight protein supply with 100% casein. Prevents muscle breakdown and supports continuous muscle growth. 24 grams of high quality...Show full detailsOriginal price €34,90Original price €34,90 - Original price €34,90Original price €34,90Current price €31,06€31,06 - €31,06Current price €31,06|/Save 11% now Save now
Casein (from the Latin caseus = cheese) is a coarsely coagulating protein (egg white) and the most important type of protein in milk (80% of the total protein content, 3% of the milk). It is the main component of curd and cheese and can be precipitated by milk coagulation by means of heating, by adding rennet or by means of acids or as calcium salt. Casein is then separated by filtration or centrifugation. Through heating, addition of acids or enhanced by addition of the enzyme pepsin, a partial breakdown of casein takes place, making casein from cheese and curd easier to digest than that in raw milk.
One liter of whole milk contains 3.2 to 3.5 percent casein. To cover a daily requirement of vital amino acids, only one liter of this milk is needed. The proteins in milk can be almost completely utilized by the body.
Casein is therefore a slowly digestible milk protein, which is often used as a supplement precisely because of its long residence time in the digestive system. It releases its amino acids slowly, which is why athletes like to use it before bedtime to support recovery and reduce muscle breakdown during sleep. Casein represents something of the "royalty" of slow-digesting proteins, as it continuously delivers amino acids for up to 8 hours after consumption, while fast-digesting Whey protein only releases amino acids into the bloodstream for a period of 3 hours.
It is used as a raw material for various processing purposes. It is used as a foodstuff, but also as a binder for paints, as a glue or as a photoresist in etching technology. From the end of the 19th century until the 1930s, it was the starting material for the "plastic" galalith, which was used for buttons and jewelry, among other things, but also for insulation purposes for electrical equipment.
Several studies have shown that casein stimulates muscle building and has a variety of other health benefits. Like other animal proteins, casein is a complete protein source, meaning it provides all the essential amino acids the body needs for growth and repair (1). In addition to this, casein contains various unique and bioactive compounds that have a number of health benefits (2, 3).
The two primary forms of casein are:
- Micellar Casein: This is the most popular form, which is slow digesting.
- Casein Hydrolysate: This form is enzymatically "predigested" and is quickly absorbed by the body.
On average, a standard 33 gram scoop of casein protein powder contains 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fat (4). In addition to this, different micronutrients such as calcium may be included. However, the exact nutrient composition varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Casein is much slower to digest than whey protein and is an anti-catabolic protein Casein is also known as a "delayed release" protein due to its slow absorption rate in the gut. This means that it can supply the body's cells with amino acids over a long period of time, with lower blood levels of amino acids than fast digesting whey protein due to its slower release.
Casein can help the body synthesize protein even at times when the body would normally break down muscle protein to supply itself with needed amino acids. An example of such a time would be the overnight fasting period, during which no protein is supplied through the diet (5, 6). For this reason, casein is also referred to as an anti-catabolic protein, which helps to reduce muscle breakdown (7).
One study tested digestion rate by having subjects consume one casein or one whey protein shake each. The scientists monitored blood amino acid levels - and in particular levels of the amino acid leucine - over 7 hours after consumption of the protein shake (8).
They observed a faster and stronger increase in blood amino acid levels with the whey protein shake due to its faster digestion. With casein, the increase in blood amino acid levels was weaker, but remained consistent over a longer period of time. They also found that circulating levels of leucine increased 25% more in the whey protein group, indicating faster digestion (8).
This means that in the casein group, the total amount of protein burned for energy over a 7-hour period was lower. This in turn means a better net protein balance - a key factor for muscle growth and maintenance (9).
Summary: Casein is an anti-catabolic protein. It reduces protein breakdown in the body due to its slow rate of digestion and a sustained supply of amino acids to muscle cells.
Casein protein is very effective for muscle growth
Bodybuilders and athletes have been using casein for decades. Like other animal proteins, casein contains all the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. More importantly, it provides large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which initiates protein synthesis (9, 10, 11).
When consuming only a low or moderate amount of protein, casein could help increase muscle growth simply by increasing protein intake (12). One study compared subjects who consumed casein with two other groups, one of which consumed whey protein and the other of which did not consume any additional protein. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the casein group had gained twice as much muscle mass and lost three times as much fat compared to the placebo group. The casein group had also lost more fat than the whey protein group (13). According to studies, protein oxidation increases much more after consuming rapidly digestible protein such as Whey protein than after consuming casein. In other words, after consuming Whey protein, the body burns a greater amount of the protein supplied for energy than after consuming casein.
Casein could also increase overall muscle mass in the long run by reducing protein breakdown. This process of protein breakdown occurs on a daily basis when the body has low energy or amino acid levels. Furthermore, protein breakdown is accelerated during exercise or a weight loss phase (7, 8, 14).
For this reason, casein is often consumed as the last meal before bedtime to prevent the protein breakdown that can occur at night because you don't eat protein for a relatively long period of time during sleep.
In one study, a casein protein shake before bedtime helped strength athletes increase their type 2 muscle fiber cross-sectional area by 8.4 cm2, compared to only 4.8 cm2 for the placebo group (15). It was further observed that the casein group was able to increase their strength by 20% more than the placebo group.
Summary: Casein has been repeatedly shown to increase strength and muscle mass when combined with resistance training. It could additionally help with fat loss.
Casein could help improve sleep quality
Some fitness experts claim that casein can improve sleep quality. One theory is that the tryptophan found in casein may be responsible for this. While tryptophan is an amino acid that helps regulate sleep, casein contains only 1.1% tryptophan. So it's quite possible that tryptophan is only marginally involved with this effect of casein.
Instead, the sleep-related effects of casein may be related to the fact that casein contains a peptide called AlphaS-1 peptide. This peptide is known to reduce restlessness, anxiety and stress.
A study conducted with rats suffering from chronic stress found that the alphaS-1 peptide found in casein helped improve sleep (28).
Casein can help with weight loss
A Dutch study concluded that casein protein could help increase the metabolic rate during sleep. This study also showed a massive 33% increase in satiety, which helped subjects eat less overall (29). Another study in 2004 showed that casein could help men double their fat loss over a 12-week period (8% compared to 4% for the placebo group (13).
During a calorie-restricted diet, your body needs more protein to maintain muscle mass than during a build-up or maintenance phase. Many dieters mistakenly believe that whey protein is the best choice during a diet due to its higher biological value, but this is not really the case.
The long-lasting amino acid release resulting from slow digestion gives casein a clearly pronounced anti-catabolic effect, which can protect your muscles from muscle mass loss better than the anabolic effect of Whey Protein. Numerous studies have shown that subjects who used casein as their primary protein source during a diet lost significantly less muscle mass than subjects who followed the same diet with an equivalent amount of Whey protein. In addition to the anti-catabolic effect of casein, this is also related to the higher efficiency of this protein source.
Casein could have other impressive health benefits
Some studies suggest that casein may have a number of other health benefits:
- Antibacterial effects and stimulation of the immune system: Some studies suggest that casein may possess antibacterial effects and improve immune function (2, 16).
- Blood pressure: There is evidence that casein peptides may lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension (16).
- Triglyceride levels: a study conducted with 10 overweight subjects found that casein could reduce triglyceride levels by 22% after a meal (17).
- Antioxidant effects: Some of the peptides contained in casein protein have antioxidant effects and can fight free radicals (2, 18, 19).
- Promoting gut health: In a study, Australian scientists examined the health benefits of different proteins and found that milk proteins such as casein promoted gut health more than meat or soy proteins (30).
- Protection of teeth: According to a British study, casein may protect teeth as it has the potential to reduce or prevent the effects of enamel erosion (31).
Use in the field of sports
The biological value of casein is between 71 and 74, which is significantly lower than that of lactalbumin (Whey). However, it has some interesting properties for strength athletes:
- In the gastrointestinal tract, casein acts to form a kind of gel, which delays gastric emptying. Thus, on the one hand, the contact time in the intestine is prolonged, which improves the amino acid resorption.
- On the other hand, a smaller and more even rise in blood sugar occurs when carbohydrates are also consumed with casein. In this way, cravings are avoided and fat gain from carbohydrates is reduced. This is why casein is well suited for dieting. In addition, in contrast to the fast-digesting lactalbumin (Whey), where the amino acids can be detected in the blood quite early, the amino acid influx into the blood is delayed with casein, but can be detected for up to 8 hours. Thus, casein offers itself as an anti-catabolic protein before bedtime and about 2 hours before training.
- Casein has a glutamine content of about 20%, higher than that of all other protein sources.
Does casein have any harmful side effects?
The myth that high protein intake is bad for health has now been debunked often enough. Direct studies and study reviews have highlighted that high protein intake has no negative effects in healthy people.
The only exception is people with existing kidney or liver disease, who should limit their protein consumption (20, 21, 22).
When consuming 1 to 2 scoops of casein protein per day, it is highly unlikely that any noticeable - let alone serious - side effects will occur. An exception to this may be people with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. People who are allergic to milk protein should avoid casein, while those who are lactose intolerant should test tolerance with a small amount and slowly increase that amount. At this point it should be mentioned that different casein products may contain different residual amounts of lactose.
Other people may react to casein with flatulence or other digestive discomfort, but this depends very much on individual tolerance.
The A1 vs. A2 controversy
Different types of cows produce slightly different casein proteins. One of the proteins in casein, which is called beta-casein, exists in different forms. Most cow's milk contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta-casein, while the milk of certain breeds of cows contain only A1 beta-casein.
Some observational studies have linked A1 beta-casein to health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (23, 24, 25). However, observational studies are far from conclusive and only highlight links, which is not particularly reliable in the field of nutrition, as these studies cannot establish causal links (26, 27). Research and debate regarding A1 and A2 beta-casein continues, but for now this is not a topic to be concerned about.
How should you supplement with casein to maximize its benefits?
Casein protein powder is a high quality protein source that is also very convenient. When it comes to pre-workout protein intake, it makes more sense to use a faster digesting protein like casein hydrolysate or straight up whey protein.
Most people use casein before bedtime. For example, you could take 1 to 2 scoops of casein protein mixed with water. This mixture can be easily mixed in a shaker or blender to make a protein shake. Alternatively, you can put the casein powder in a bowl and mix it with water until it gets a pudding-like consistency and then put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Apart from this, you can consume plenty of casein in the form of natural protein sources. Milk, cottage cheese, curd, yogurt and cheese contain large amounts of casein.
Casein is a slow-digesting protein that can give muscle growth a boost and aid in post-workout recovery. Casein can improve health while increasing your daily protein intake. This is an important factor for muscle growth and weight loss.
You should try taking 1 to 2 scoops of casein protein powder before bed to improve recovery and reduce protein breakdown. At the end of the day, casein is a highly underrated high quality protein source that will not disappoint anyone who tries it.