Casein Protein or Whey Protein : 4 Amazing Benefits of Casein Protein

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n the recent years, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of protein powders. Mostly, used by athletes and bodybuilders, protein powders are readily available in stores all over the world. There are several types of protein powders available and the task of picking the one that best suits your requirements can be quite challenging. Protein is a macronutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of the body and protein powders are believed to be excellent sources of this macronutrient.

Adequate consumption of high-quality proteins is essential for health. It has been found that protein undernutrition may result in numerous health-related problems such as physical weakness, impaired immunity, edema, and vascular dysfunction. Thus, intake of dietary protein is crucial for the body’s optimal growth and development. [1]

Protein is considered to be important for muscle growth and repair. Also, it aids in recovery and repair after muscle damage. In order to increase protein intake, a lot of athletes prefer taking protein powders. [2]

The three things that you should consider before buying protein powder are the type of protein, the nutrition facts label, and the quality of the brand. The most popular types of protein found in protein supplements like protein powders are whey and casein. Both whey and casein are found in milk.

Whey is often hailed as the most popular type of protein supplement, while casein always comes second in popularity behind whey. Whey protein is an all-around good choice for protein powder. On the other hand, casein protein sometimes referred to as the ‘other protein powder’ could also pack quite a punch in terms of health and nutrition.
If you are wondering whether you should go for whey or casein protein powder, then do read on.

Here we are discussing the many ways in which these two proteins are different from each other and the health benefits of casein protein that you should be aware of.


What is Casein Protein?

Casein protein is a type of milk protein. It can be found in commercial nutrition supplements. Though casein protein is not as popular as whey protein, it possesses a wide array of health benefits that make it quite remarkable.


What are the Health Benefits of Casein Protein?

While comparing casein and whey protein, it is critical to compare their health benefits. Research has found that whey protein could prove to be effective in exercise training. It helps speed up muscle recovery. This protein could promote muscle gain and reduces malnutrition. Furthermore, it could also help a person recover from burns and chronic wounds and also safeguard infants from certain types of allergies like atopic dermatitis. [3]

The above-stated health benefits make whey protein extremely popular. However, casein protein is also known to possess multiple health benefits.

Listed below are some of the ways in which ‘the other protein powder’ could benefit your health:

1. Helps Reduce Muscle Breakdown

Casein protein has demonstrated a strong anti-catabolic effect. That is the reason why it is considered to be an important supplement for inhibiting muscle breakdown. In order to allow casein protein to avert a breakdown of muscle-building protein in the body, it is essential to take it before bed. However, it has been found that taking it in the morning could also prove to be beneficial. [4] This property of casein protein powder may help those who often engage in intense workout sessions.

2. Supports Post Exercise Overnight Recovery

This is another remarkable way in which casein protein could benefit you. Taking this protein before going to bed could encourage post exercise overnight recovery.

A clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of casein protein in modulating postexercise overnight recovery. The trial involved 16 healthy young men. All of the participants performed a resistance-type exercise in the evening and took beverages with or without casein protein just half an hour before going to sleep. It was reported that casein protein was digested and absorbed effectively during sleep. This led to a rapid rise in the circulation of amino acid levels in the blood. It was found that ingestion of casein protein before sleep resulted in an increase in the whole-body protein synthesis rates. Also, it was found that consumption of casein protein led to an improvement in overall net protein balance during postexercise overnight recovery. [5]

3. Lasts Longer Than Other Types of Proteins

Casein is a slower-digesting protein that is known to last longer in the bloodstream. The slow digestion and absorption rate of casein protein could prove to be effective in repairing muscle tissues. It is considered to be a better protein than the fast-acting types that cause dramatic spikes in the levels of amino acids in the blood. [6]

4. May Suppress Hunger and Aid Weight Loss

It is critical for a person to maintain a healthy weight for his or her overall health. It is a well-known fact that being either obese or overweight could put a person at risk of developing a variety of diseases. When it comes to weight loss, suppressing hunger could be used as a powerful tool.

A few studies have found that adequate amounts of protein could suppress hunger in an effective manner. However, it is essential to consume the type of protein that helps in increasing satiety. A study was conducted to evaluate the ability of diets containing either gelatin or casein to suppress hunger and therefore promote weight loss. The difference in appetite suppression, protein utilization and rates of energy expenditure caused by these two types of proteins were measured. A total of 23 healthy men and women participated in this study. It was concluded that the addition of gelatin and casein to a weight-loss diet could prove to be effective in suppressing hunger. It was also found that these two proteins could preserve muscle and bone mass. [7]


Casein Protein vs. Whey Protein

Casein protein vs whey protein is one of the most debatable subjects in the world of supplements. Over the last few years, the properties of these two types of proteins have been investigated and studied thoroughly. Numerous experts have conducted clinical trials and studies to determine the ways in which these proteins are different from each other.

Both casein and whey are dairy-based proteins. However, in terms of absorption rate and bioavailability, they are different from each other. These are the main differences between whey and casein protein. [8]

Casein accounts for 80% while whey accounts for approximately 20% of the total protein content in milk. [9] Casein protein can be found in chunks of cottage cheese while whey protein is a byproduct of cheese production. Whey protein is known to be particularly effective when taken as a post-workout source of protein. It gets rapidly digested and leads to a significant increase in amino acids in the blood that further promotes muscle growth. On the other hand, casein protein is considered to be a good protein to have before going to bed, as it can aid in muscle recovery. This protein gets digested slowly and causes a steady release of amino acids in the blood. Unlike whey protein, casein protein does not cause a dramatic spike in amino acids in the blood. Instead, it takes several hours to release amino acids. This makes casein protein an excellent choice for a general use protein supplement. A few studies have found that a slow-burning protein like casein protein could be an excellent choice for building muscle. [10]

When it comes to the potential effects of ingestion of these types of proteins, it has been found that both, casein and whey can cause similar effects. A randomized, double-blind study was conducted to investigate the difference in the performance-enhancing effects between these types of proteins. The resistance-trained female basketball players participated in this study. The subjects were divided into 2 groups – whey protein group and casein protein group. At the end, the experts compared the effects of consuming casein vs. whey protein before and after the exercise session on the subjects for 8 weeks. It was reported that both the groups experienced significant improvements in strength, anaerobic performance, and body composition. The study groups also reported an improved performance in multiple power and agility tests such as broad jump, shuttle run, and vertical jump. As per the findings, there was no significant difference in the type of protein consumption on overall performance. These findings indicated that the protein synthesis response after consuming whey or casein protein supplement before or after exercise can prove to be beneficial. Also, it concluded that both these protein types caused a similar response and neither displayed a significantly superior response. [11]

In terms of texture, casein and whey protein are quite different from each other. When mixed with water or milk, casein protein creates a thicker and creamier mixture than whey protein. [12]

Casein protein shakes are considered to be excellent supplements before bed as they help you sleep well. Meanwhile, whey protein shakes are excellent supplements that can help you after aggressive training. When it comes to absorption and digestion of these beverages, whey protein shakes are rapidly digested and absorbed while digestion and absorption of casein protein shake take time. [13]


When is the Best Time to use Casein Protein?

The best time to consume casein protein powder is before going to sleep. It should be consumed on the day when you have worked out. A 2012 study conducted in the Netherlands found that consumption of protein before bed could boost overnight protein synthesis rate by approximately 22%. Casein, being a slow digesting protein, could help build muscle and provide your body with a fresh protein supply. [14]

Precautions

When it comes to including a protein powder in your diet, it is imperative to get the quantity of the powder right. That is why it is highly recommended to consult with a dietician to find out the quantity of protein powder that you should consume on a daily basis. Furthermore, before buying particular protein powder, you should thoroughly read the label and do some research on the brand to ensure that the protein powder you consume is of the best quality.


Conclusion

Protein powder is a popular nutritional supplement that is often consumed by many athletes and people engaged in high-intensity exercises. The type of protein powder you include in your diet is a personal choice. You could either consume whey protein powder or casein protein powder to help your muscles. Both these protein powders can be easily found in the stores. When compared to whey protein powder, casein protein powder could be a little less expensive. You could make protein shakes or smoothies, and consume them on a daily basis to ensure that your body receives the required quantity of dietary protein.

Alternatively, you could try mixing whey and casein protein powder. A 10-week resistance training study found that the combination of whey and casein protein supplementation can cause significant gains in muscle mass. [15]

To reap the benefits of both these health-enhancing protein powders you could try consuming them in combination. You could either consume protein powder before an intense exercise session or after one. Like whey protein powder, casein protein powder is also an excellent supplement. From encouraging postexercise overnight recovery to helping curb hunger and promoting weight loss, there are several ways in which casein protein powder could help those who work out on a regular basis. As discussed earlier, casein protein tends to work effectively when consumed before going to sleep. So, go ahead and try any of the above two protein powders to benefit your health.