There are so many proteins out there. It can get really confusing when you are deciding which to use for your supplementation. Although all proteins are used for the same desired effect, they are broken down differently by our bodies and so we should be wise in which protein we partake of.
Casein protein is one such protein that should be considered. This article will give you all the information you need to benefit from casein protein.
What is casein protein and what does it do?
Casein protein is a protein derived from cow’s milk. It makes up about 80% of the protein that comes from milk, while the other 20% comes from whey.
Its name comes from the Latin word meaning cheese. A great source of casein is actually cottage cheese but it is found in all dairy products.
Casein is made by treating milk with a chemical called chymosin. This chemical causes the milk to clot and form solids which are the casein molecules. They are further purified through microfilters and the result is concentrated casein protein.
Casein comes in two different forms: micellar casein and calcium casein. The former is a better choice because it is in its rawest form and is digested more slowly. The latter is altered to be easily digested and mixed with other ingredients.
Like all other protein, its amino acids are beneficial for muscle growth and so much more. Casein is a complete protein, meaning that is complete to repair your body because it contains all the essential amino acids. No other protein needs to be taken in conjunction with casein protein for your body to reap the benefits.
What are the benefits of casein protein?
Casein protein has many benefits associated with its supplementation. Below are listed the benefits that casein protein can boast:
For anyone who has a hard time eating enough protein, supplementing with casein will definitely help you gain muscle mass. However, studies show that casein supplementation along with a workout will double your muscle gain and triple your fat loss than just by working out alone.
Boost immune system
There was a study done with the intent to find the health benefits of milk. This study proved that certain nutrients found in the casein of the milk proved beneficial for bolstering the immune function of the cells. It proved to increase the growth of healthy bacteria and antibodies as well as strengthen the immune system.
Reduces triglyceride levels
One study showed that people who supplemented with casein had lower triglyceride levels after eating a high-fat meal. Having high triglyceride levels in your blood can make you more susceptible to heart problems.
This study was done on healthy overweight males. Are you a healthy overweight male looking to reduce your triglycerides? Casein might just do the trick.
The same study was done showing the immune-strengthening effects of milk also discussed the antioxidant effect of milk. When the individual components of milk are dissected it was found that the casein protein contained two antioxidants, pepsin, and trypsin. These two peptides were the most powerful at combating free radicals and fighting diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and atherosclerosis.
Prevents muscle breakdown
When your body goes a long period of time without food, it will start to break down your muscle cells for energy. Because casein protein is broken down so slowly, it remains in the body for longer, preventing this muscle break down.
Reduce enamel erosion
Casein protein was proven in a study to help protect your teeth by strengthening the enamel. This can help in the long run to protect from cavities, tooth decay, sensitivity, and just all around ugly teeth. Keep your smile beautiful and make sure to get enough casein.
Increase metabolic rate while you sleep
One of the top reasons people decide to add casein protein in their diet is because of the magical things it does while you sleep. We’ll talk more about that below but it has been proven to help your body maintain a higher basal metabolic rate while you sleep.
May help with fat loss
Because casein protein is anti-catabolic, meaning it prevents the breakdown of muscle and helps to grow new muscle tissue, added to the ability to increase your metabolism while you sleep, this protein is a very good choice for fat loss. When your body is holding onto muscle but burning energy, it can only burn energy from one place; fat.
Casein vs whey protein
Whey protein has been the king of protein since the dawn of time, and for good reason. There is another protein that deserves to sit beside whey on the throne, or at least in a close second and that is casein protein.
If you are used to supplementing with whey, you’ll be quite surprised the first time you try casein. The consistency is more gel-like and thicker than whey.
Side by side you wouldn’t think that whey protein and casein are much different but they do have some significant differences that distinguish one from the other.
Whey is known to give your muscles a quick supply of amino acids right when the body needs it because of its quick absorption rate. Casein, on the other hand, will supply your body with a constant trickle of protein. They both help the body to grow muscle so long as they are properly used.
Whey is known to help pump your muscles and see incredible growth. Casein protein supplemented the right way will help to keep it there.
The best way to see results is to mix the two together for post workout and possibly add another serving of casein right before bed.
Casein protein for women
It’s been said that women might need to supplement their protein intake more than men because generally, men eat more protein in their diet naturally. If a woman is working out but isn’t getting enough protein, it could cause many bad things to happen to her body.
There is no reason to think that casein protein isn’t just as useful as a supplement for women as it is for men. Every benefit that casein provides for men will also be beneficial in the same way.
Because most women are looking to lose weight as part of their fitness goals, casein may actually be even a more appealing form of protein. Read on to understand more.
Casein protein for weight loss
Protein powder is the lowest calorie source for your protein needs. So, supplementing with any form of protein powder will help you lose weight.
Casein powder, however, might be more effective in weight loss than other forms of protein supplementation because of its staying effect. The protein thickens and is digested slower, remaining in the body longer and satiating your hunger for longer.
This results in less hunger between meals, less cheating on your diet, and more control over your eating habits. This will convert into weight loss by a sheer calorie deficit.
And these results come all without starving yourself and lashing out from hunger crankiness. Your friends and family will be just as glad as you when you use casein to help with weight loss.
How should I take casein protein?
Casein protein typically comes in powder form which is convenient to use in a protein shake or just mixed with water or milk. You can also blend it with ice to make a slushie-like drink.
If you are using it post workout, I suggest you blend it with whey protein to get the immediate uptake of protein from whey as well as the prolonged uptake from casein. Don’t mix it until you are finished with your workout, as it can get quite thick and form a pudding.
It has been used as an addition in dessert mixes or just stirred with milk and frozen for a nice ice cream like a treat before bed.
Should I take casein protein before bed?
Speaking of before bed, it has been mentioned on numerous occasions in this article the qualities that casein has, make it very useful to take before bed. This is true but it doesn’t mean that before bed is the only time you can take it.
It can be taken hours before a workout or between meals. It is great for a long car ride or another situation when you know you’ll be without food for an extended period of time. Some have chosen to supplement with casein for an extremely long workout or a hike.
The most important time to take casein is before bed. This is the time when your body is recovering and repairing muscle tissue. Casein acts as the fuel for your body to do this more efficiently.
Casein provides a slow release of protein to the muscles for up to 7 hours. That is the recommended hours of sleep an adult should get per night. Coincidence? I think not.
Better repair and recovery means less sore muscles, more energy throughout the day, and less time between workouts.
How much casein protein should I take?
The recommended dosage of daily protein intake can greatly differ based on your goals, weight, gender, and age.
The basic recommendation is between ½ gram and 2 grams per pound per day. So if you weigh 180lbs. you would want to consume between 90-360 grams of protein per day.
The more muscle you are trying to gain, the more protein you should be eating. Bodybuilders would be eating on the higher range of protein. Marathon runners would be consuming the lower range of protein. The average athlete would find themselves somewhere in between.
It’s important to remember that these numbers are for the TOTAL protein intake. If you also supplement with whey protein take that into consideration. Also, you will be getting some protein from your foods. Take all these factors into account when deciding how much casein protein to use.
The average serving suggestion is 1-2 scoops of casein protein powder. This is somewhere between 25-50 grams of protein and can be taken 2-3 times per day.
Casein protein side effects and risks
There a very few side effects and risks to consuming casein protein. Because it is milk derived, those who are lactose intolerant will suffer some side effects. Other than occasional bloating, reports of side effects have not been recorded from healthy individuals.
If you are currently suffering from kidney or liver disease, limiting your protein intake has been recommended.
On very rare occasions, someone might be allergic to casein protein supplement. However, when they switch to hydrolyzed casein protein, the symptoms are gone because this type of protein is already broken down part way and easier to digest.
What to look for when buying casein protein?
Since we don’t have the FDA checking our protein supplements for effectiveness and purity, it’s our job to make sure we are shopping wisely when choosing a casein protein powder.
The first thing to do is to check the label for ingredients. You should be looking for the purest form of micellar casein possible.
You’ll also want to check to see how many grams of protein are in each serving. The aim should be between 20-30 grams. There are higher calorie protein products. These would be best for those looking to bulk up.
If you are looking to lose weight and maintain muscle mass, go for the product that contains the least amount of calories per gram of protein.
Because many people use casein protein before bed, some companies have added additional ingredients that are meant to help you fall asleep and stay asleep easier. If you tend to have trouble sleeping, one of these products could be a good choice for you.
A few other things to check for is whether it comes from a reputable brand, the flavor (you wouldn’t want to buy a product you couldn’t hold down), and price. You pay for what you get for the most part but you don’t want to break the bank.
10 Best casein protein supplements in 2022
Below we put together a list of top 10 casein protein supplements for men and women based on a collaborative effort between ourselves and reviews from fitness experts and enthusiasts.
If you would like to ensure a consistent flow of protein in your body, casein is an excellent and convenient choice that can help you meet your goals.
This product contains 24 grams of micellar casein in each serving. It also contains 50% of your daily need of calcium which is pretty good as many of us have difficulties getting our calcium in during the day. Each serving has 120 calories and 240mg of sodium, a little high on the salt but not too many calories. It comes in four different flavors; chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream, chocolate supreme, and creamy vanilla. This a very popular choice among the bodybuilders, from amateurs to the pros.
Again, this company delivers on its name. This product contains two ingredients: micellar casein and soy lecithin as an emulsifier. They offer an 11-pound bag and 44-pound bag but let’s keep it smaller and talk about their 2.2-pound bag. Each serving also contains 112 calories and is flavorless. You can add this powder to any drinks and shakes. This is a very pure product and the only complaint is that the bags resealable pouch doesn’t reseal very well.
This is a blend of different proteins including casein, two different wheys, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumen, and glutamine peptides. There is no real way of knowing how much casein per serving, as it’s a mixture of all the proteins but there are 22 grams of protein in total in each serving. It contains a lot of other unnecessary stuff like sunflower creamer, MCT powder, salt, and sucralose. It does well to make it taste good but each serving contains 200 calories.
This is very similar to Optimum Nutrition’s casein but it contains an extra gram of protein per serving and costs the same amount. Its flavors are the cinnamon bun, cookies and cream, rich chocolate, and smooth vanilla. It also contains quite a bit of sodium, 250mg per serving. Dymatize is an award-winning company for their protein so they are definitely a safe bet.
This is another protein blend only this one tells you exactly how much of each protein you are getting which is great. It contains 7.5 grams of whey, 7 grams of micellar casein, 7 grams of milk protein isolate, and 2.5 grams of egg white protein in each serving. It comes in nine whole flavors including unique ones like root beer float, caramel macchiato, and banana cream pie. It is a little more expensive than the competition, however, they claim to not only have superior protein, but also the precise protein blend to maximize muscle gains.
This product contains micellar casein, coconut oil, and natural flavorings along with a few other ingredients. They use cold processed micellar casein to preserve the protein at its closest to the natural state. Each serving contains 24 grams of protein and more than half the daily need of calcium. This product only comes in two flavors; vanilla or chocolate. This product is a little on the expensive side but many swear by it.
This product has 25 or 26 grams of high-quality casein per serving. This product also boasts that it is non-GMO and uses milk from cows that haven’t been treated with hormones or antibiotics. The ingredients in this product are all natural including sea salt, stevia, and natural cocoa or vanilla, which are for its two different flavors chocolate or vanilla. For some reason, these flavors have different protein levels and calories but only by very little. This is a very clean product but as expected it costs a little more.
This product has 7 different proteins that each digest at different phases, hence the name Phase8, although Phase7 would be more fitting. It contains 26 grams of protein and 150 calories per serving. Although it does contain some casein, it is mostly whey protein isolate. It comes in four different flavors; milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cookies and cream.
This protein powder is a mix of different caseins; micellar casein, calcium caseinate, and milk protein isolate. Each serving contains 24 grams of protein and 110 calories. Three different flavors include chocolate supreme, cookies and cream, and creamy vanilla. It does contain some unnecessary additives but is supposed to be rated high in taste. It delivers 60% of your daily needs of calcium and 10 grams of BCAAs. It isn’t high in purity but it delivers in the protein department which is what we’re looking for.
This is another protein blend but this one doesn’t tell you how much of each protein there is per serving. Each scoop has 110 calories and 21 grams of protein. This is a pretty basic protein powder with no real benefits other than maybe the price. It comes in either vanilla or chocolate flavor.