Sep 20, 2011 • By erny peibst •
Casein protein is arguably the most important supplement (rivaling whey protein) when it comes to building muscle. But why is it so essential?
Casein protein is naturally found in milk, along with whey protein. The total protein in milk consists of 80% casein and 20% whey. Whey is a fast acting protein and casein is a very slow acting protein, which can take up to 6 hours plus to absorb fully. By extracting casein from milk, you get the goodness of the casein without the saturated fat, puss cells etc that milk unfortunatelycontains.
So the question is, why do we need casein or a very slow absorbing protein? It is beneficial to take casein at two particular times in the day.
One time is before sleep. Just think, when you are sleeping you are going without food/protein for several hours. When this happens the stress hormone (cortisol) dramatically increases. This is a problem as cortisol causes the body to burn muscle for energy and store fat. Thus, by taking casein before bedtime it will keep you in a muscle building state throughout the night because it takes 6 hours to be absorbed, meaning cortisol levels will be kept as low as possible. When fats are mixed with protein it takes the protein even longer to be absorbed. Meaning in your bedtime meal it would be even more beneficial to consume some healthy fats such as flax seed/olive oil/mayonnaise/fish oil.
Casein is also great to have around if you have to go a long time without a meal, as it's anti-catabolic properties are the best of all the proteins on the planet. Meaning it will prevent muscle breakdown in this period, due to its high content of amino acids and glutamine. Casein is also a good source of calcium, important for keeping strong and healthy bones.
Without casein protein, your gains will be limited.