1. What is casein protein and where does it come from?
Casein protein, the predominant protein found in milk, is a slow digesting protein that plays a large role in preventing muscle breakdown. Casein protein has also been shown to have the ability to slowly release amino acids which in turn causes a timed release trickle of amino acids into the bloodstream. This release can last up to 7 hours after ingestion.
There are 3 forms of casein protein:
Milk Protein Isolate
Calcium caseinate is the lowest quality among the three forms and is commonly used as a food ingredient. Micellar casein and the casein in milk protein isolate are identical. While micellar casein is 100% casein, milk protein isolate has both micellar protein and whey.
Casein protein is actually the natural, undernatured form of casein that is found in milk. It also makes up 80% of the protein found in milk. The separation process from the milk is called ultrafiltration. This process is done without the use of any chemicals, and it increases the amount of bioactive milk peptides that support immune function along with enhancing muscle growth.
Casein protein also has the ability to form a ball, or gel, in the gut, that provides a constant release of amino acids into the bloodstream. This ability makes casein protein the optimal choice for long lasting anti-catabolic protein.
2. What does casein protein do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Casein protein provides superior muscle feeding growth that is optimal for recovery, and size and strength gains. This is especially important after an intense workout, when your muscles are craving it the most.
Casein protein slowly enters the blood stream, which means it has very little impact on protein synthesis. It does, however, have a powerful effect, in suppressing protein breakdown, which makes it a great muscle-sparing protein.
In some studies, casein protein demonstrated the ability to sustain steady amino acid elevations for up to 7 hours! It also showed a very strong anti-catabolic effect that was not seen nearly as often with the faster digesting whey protein.
Current data has shown time and time again the important role casein protein plays in exercise and weight training!
3. Who would benefit from casein protein and how much should be taken? Are there any side effects or symptoms of deficiency?
Any bodybuilder or athlete that is looking for a superior, slow-digesting protein source would benefit greatly from a casein protein source. We always recommend to follow the serving directions for whatever certain brand you are taking. That being said, most people generally take 2-3 servings throughout the day, but especially at night.
The reason it is very important to take casein protein at night because that is when your body usually goes the longest without any protein source. Casein protein helps circumvent your body resorting to consuming the protein from your muscles specifically due to it's slow-digestion process.
There have been no reported major side effects to taking casein protein unless you happen to be allergic to it. Also, you obviously do not want to overdose on protein. Your body can really only handle about 30 grams of protein at a time and the rest goes to "waste", if you know what we mean.