A slow digesting protein, casein is present in milk of mammals and constitutes 80% of total protein present in cow’s milk. Human milk has twenty to forty five percent of casein. It is a phosphoprotein that is rich in amino acids, minerals like calcium and phosphorus as well as carbohydrates. Casein is popularly used in making cheese, protein supplements, and used as a food additive. As it is a slow digesting protein, the release of essential amino acids from casein is also slow, so it is taken before bedtime for muscular growth and recovery. It supplements physical workouts. Presence of all the nine essential amino acids in it makes it a complete protein. Casein is extracted from goat’s or cow’s milk during the process of production of cheese. Kefir, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, sour cream etc. all are good sources of casein protein. It offers many health benefits like muscle building, recovery and strength boosting, appetite curbing thereby weight maintenance and loss as well as promotes bone and dental health. Many varieties of casein proteins are commercially available and they have their own benefits to offer.
- What Is Casein Protein Powder?
- When Should You Take Casein Protein?
- What Are Casein Protein Powder Nutrition Facts
- How Much Casein Protein Can I Take?
- Can You Have Casein Protein If You’re Lactose-intolerant?
- What Are The Benefits Of Taking Casein Protein
- What Are Different Types Of Casein Protein
- Which Casein Protein Is Best?
- Which Foods Have Casein Protein?
- What Is Casein Protein Used For?
- What Are The Side Effects Of Casein Protein
- What Are The Indicators Of Casein Allergy
- What Are The Casein Protein Takeaways
What Is Casein Protein Powder?
Dehydration of parts of milk is done to get casein protein powder. The powder made from A2 beta-casein is said to be far better. The calorie and protein content of different brands of casein protein powder vary. Some are 100% casein whereas some others are casein mixed with other ingredients. The casein protein powder with low sugar content or having organic sweetener like stevia extract or cocoa powder or vanilla extract is the one which is more beneficial and healthier.(1)
When Should You Take Casein Protein?
For muscle building and weight gaining the ideal time to take casein protein is before bed or in between bigger meals to replace snacks. This would keep you satiated and keep your hunger pangs in control. Casein protein is not advised after a workout as the amino acids present in casein would require longer time to reach your muscles. Whereas post workout a quick supply of nutrients especially amino acids is required by our muscles.
What Are Casein Protein Powder Nutrition Facts
One serving of casein powder provides you with one gram of fat, one gram sugar, forty five percent or four hundred and fifty milligrams of calcium, twenty three grams of protein and one hundred and twenty calories.
For an active woman weighing one forty pounds and aiming to consume 63 to 95 grams of protein a day for improving her daily diet can take a serving of casein protein powder. One serving of casein protein would be good enough to meet her needs for one of the three main meals she takes in a day.
How Much Casein Protein Can I Take?
The amount of casein protein to be taken varies from person to person.
- For general health and weight maintenance you need to consume 0.36 gram of casein protein per pound of your weight.
- A person who is very active like a sportsperson needs to take 0.68 to 1 gram of casein protein per pound of his or her weight.
- A person who is aiming to tone his or her muscle or aiming at weight reduction should take 0.45 to 0.68 grams per pound of his or her body weight.
Can You Have Casein Protein If You’re Lactose-intolerant?
A lactose intolerant person fails to digest the sugar lactose present in cow’s milk. As a result, they suffer from bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea etc. Casein also is obtained primarily from cow’s milk. So, people suffering from lactose intolerance should be consuming organic A2 milk, raw milk or goat’s milk. Goat milk has A2 casein in it and its composition is close to breast milk of human beings. Therefore, it tends to cause lesser digestive problems and allergic outbreaks. So, a lactose intolerant person can get casein from goat’s milk or casein protein powders made from cows producing only A2 casein.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Casein Protein
The following are the benefits of taking Casein Protein
- What Are The Benefits Of Taking Casein Protein
- Longer Lasting Protein
- Anti-Catabolic Protein
- Can Help In Weight Loss By Curbing Your Hunger Pangs
- Good As A Snack To Be Taken Before Bedtime Or To Replace A Meal
- Promotes Muscular Growth
- Antioxidant Benefits
- Controls Triglyceride Levels
- Good For Overall Well-being
- Remineralizes Teeth
- Vitamin D Boost
- Good For Colon Health
1. Longer Lasting Protein:
As it is slowly digested by the body, the amino acids available from casein can be used by the muscle tissues for longer durations to complete growth and repair work. So, it can have similar effects like carbohydrates that are slow releasing, which keep the blood sugar level in control.
2. Anti-Catabolic Protein:
Our muscle tissues are catabolized or broken down to extract the stored amino acids in the muscle protein. These are then used for growth, development, repair and energy giving. As we exercise more or engage in more physical activities there is an increase in the rate of catabolism of protein stored in our muscle tissue. Being an anti-catabolic supplement, casein protein reduces the breakdown of muscle mass by providing the required amino acids. This reduction in protein breakdown is due to the prolonged presence of amino acids in the bloodstream, which is an inherent property of casein. This further helps in building muscle mass.
3. Can Help In Weight Loss By Curbing Your Hunger Pangs:
In general protein supplements are said to be good in controlling hunger pangs by keeping you satiated. Inclusion of a protein rich food item in every meal and snack is said to be associated with better management of cravings for sugar, hunger and overall food choices. A study was done to find out the impact of casein and whey protein on hunger reduction. Both were found to be effective in controlling appetite. This can further prevent overeating and help in maintaining weight and promote weight loss.
4. Good As A Snack To Be Taken Before Bedtime Or To Replace A Meal:
It is considered a perfect night time snack for those who are into fitness and bodybuilding as it stays in the bloodstream for long. While we sleep, our body repairs our stressed out muscles and casein therefore is especially beneficial as a pre bedtime snack. A study found out that ingestion of casein protein just before bedtime helps in stimulating muscular protein synthesis while we are asleep. If your main meals have prolonged intervals, then casein protein can serve as a good nutritious and satiating snack.
5. Promotes Muscular Growth:
Casein protein is used as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders as it has all the essential amino acids. Presence of leucine in it is especially beneficial for muscular growth as it starts synthesis of protein in muscles. A comparative analysis was conducted to check the effect of casein consumption to whey consumption and no protein consumption. As compared to the placebo group, the casein group’s muscular growth doubled and fat loss tripled. The fat loss of the casein group was much more than the whey group. In another study, it was seen that when men doing strength training were given casein protein shake before bed time the size of their muscle fiber as well as muscular strength increased. (2)
6. Antioxidant Benefits:
Studies have found that casein has antioxidant potential. Some of the peptides present in it work against free radical buildup.
7. Controls Triglyceride Levels:
High levels of triglyceride in blood after eating is considered to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A study was conducted on overweight men who were healthy but had waist circumference more than 94 cm. Casein introduced in their diet interacted with fat and was able to lower postprandial lipemia by 22%. (3)
8. Good For Overall Well-being:
Presence of the amino acid glutamine makes casein beneficial for our digestive system, immune system as well as smooth functioning of the brain. Also, its positive effects on lowering blood pressure was seen in a study. Subjects were given 3.8 grams of casein peptide daily for 4 weeks and reduction in both their diastolic and systolic blood pressure was seen. (4)
9. Remineralizes Teeth:
Casein contains calcium which is good for our teeth. It fortifies the enamel of our teeth. It works by remineralizing our teeth which is of specific importance to a person suffering from cavities. Consumption of casein rich food like cheese, yogurt etc. gives teeth the required casein boost and can help heal cavities affected teeth naturally. (5)
10. Vitamin D Boost:
Dairy products containing casein like milk, cheese, yogurt etc. are good sources of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. All these nutrients are good for our bone health. Together they may reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis, high blood pressure and diabetes. (6)
11. Good For Colon Health:
In a study, it was found that as compared to proteins that we get from soy and meat, dairy proteins are better as far as their effects on colon health is considered. So, addition of casein protein to your diet may be good for your colon. (7)
What Are Different Types Of Casein Protein
Casein protein can be divided into three types including cheese casein, native whole milk casein derived from raw milk and industrial casein. Native whole milk casein is said to be better than most as its acid base balance is most suitable for our body. Micelles or protein clusters are present in native whole milk casein that are attached to citrate ions, phosphate and calcium. Cheese casein is obtained from the curd that is made during cheese manufacturing. It is also good for building of muscles like native casein and delivers the amino acids slowly and efficiently. Acidic levels of industrial casein are higher as compared to others. Moreover, certain important amino acids are also lost during the processing of industrial casein. The processing makes protein present in industrial casein denatured and that is considered to be carcinogenic for the colon. (8)
Casein is also classified into micellar casein and casein hydrolysate. Micellar casein consists of micelles i.e. protein clusters that are bound with phosphate and calcium. It is more popular with bodybuilders and in sports nutrition. Casein hydrolysate can be more easily digested as well as absorbed by our body. Chemical processing breaks down the protein into smaller units, thereby making it more readily absorbable as compared to Micellar casein.
Which Casein Protein Is Best?
Raw whole milk is responsible for the extraction of native casein and this casein is said to be of very good quality. It not only supplies human body with muscle building amino acid, leucine but also has superior anabolic qualities. Some of the casein products that have similar properties like native casein are(8):
- Which Casein Protein Is Best?
1. Milk Protein Concentrate:
This is a form of whole protein wherein the ratio of casein and whey is almost similar to that of milk. Membrane filtration of milk is done to obtain the best quality milk protein concentrate. The product obtained is similar to native casein, is stable and resistant to damage caused by heat in its water soluble state. Its pH is neutral to alkaline making it more suitable for digestion.
2. Micellar Casein:
During the process of microfiltration of milk, casein micelles are extracted from the whey. As it cannot completely dissolve in water its functional value is lower. So, it is not as good as cheese casein and native casein.
3. Industrial Casein Versus Raw Milk And Cheese Casein:
Raw milk and cheese caseins are considered to be better than industrial caseins. Industrial caseins are said to be protein Isolates which are obtained by exposing over pasteurized milk to extreme heat or acid. During processing of industrial caseins, cysteine and methionine (key essential amino acids) tend to get damaged. These amino acids contain Sulphur and are required by our immune system. Moreover, extreme heat exposure reduces digestibility and changes molecular integrity of industrial casein.
Which Foods Have Casein Protein?
The following are the foods have casein protein in them(9)
1. Dairy Sources Of Casein Protein:
Cow’s milk and products made out of it have casein. This include cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter, pudding etc. Casein content is also high in food items made using these like pudding, sherbet, custard and cream based soups. Alternatives to dairy milk like soy, almond or coconut milk does not have casein.
2. Other Sources:
Certain amount of casein is also said to be present in processed meats, ghee, cereal bars, tuna, margarine, flavored with cheese, semisweet chocolates, baked products containing milk or buttermilk etc.
3. Protein Bars And Powders:
Mostly protein powders and bars have casein in them as it has all the essential amino acids required for muscular repair and growth.
What Is Casein Protein Used For?
It is used for the following purposes(10):
1. Cheese Making:
Coagulation of casein present in milk results in formation of cheese. The enzyme rennet is added to coagulate the milk after it has been acidified. The coagulated solid is taken out and given different shapes. Heating is not used for coagulation of casein.
2. Protein Supplements:
Casein is used to make protein supplement as it is considered very good and efficient supplier of nutrients. As it reaches the stomach it forms a gel or clot and slowly and sustainably supplies nutrients to the body for prolonged hours. It is also available as hydrolyzed casein which is prepared by using trypsin, a protease. Hydrolyzed version tends to be little bitter.
3. Casein Compounds For Dental Uses:
Casein is used in making products for tooth remineralization. It stabilizes amorphous calcium phosphate and releases it on the enamel to promote remineralization.
Apart from these casein is also used for:
4. Making Paints:
Casein paints are water soluble and dry up fast. They have been used since ancient Egyptian times as a type of tempera paint and are still used by scene painters.
5. Fiber And Plastics:
Fibers and plastic are also made from casein or extruded casein. Some of these plastics have been used in making buttons apart from other uses.
6. Glue Making:
Casein based glues are used for bottle labelling and lamination of fireproof doors.
What Are The Side Effects Of Casein Protein
The following are the side effects of Casein Protein
1. Casein Pods In Stool:
Casein sometimes tends to form smooth bean like pods which are excreted with stool. The color of the pods vary and they tend to float in toilet water. More research is required to establish if it indicates any disease risk.
2. Casein And Autism:
Autism affects a child’s normal way of interacting and communicating socially. Casein is often excluded from diets of autistic children as it is thought it can lead to allergy and impair their social and cognitive behavior further.
3. Problems Of The Respiratory Tract:
As casein is coarse and thick and has mucus forming properties, a high casein diet can result in blocking and irritation of the respiratory tract. (11)
4. May Be Carcinogenic:
Casein has been found to be associated with promoting cancer in its different stages of development. Casein constitutes 85% of dairy protein. It was seen in a study done on laboratory animals that when the casein content in their diet was controlled the level of cancer development could also be controlled in them. So, it was concluded that plant proteins could be safer as far as cancer is concerned.
5. Allergic Reaction:
Casein can also lead to allergic reactions like rashes, itchy skin or hives on skin, itching in eyes, nose blockage, cough, sneezing, wheezing, inflammation of tongue, lips, mouth and face. In severe cases, it can cause anaphylaxis which could be detrimental. Symptoms include shortness of breath, pain in the chest, mouth swelling and hives immediately after you consume milk. It calls for immediate medical intervention. (12)
6. Should Be Avoided Pre And Post Surgery:
Casein tends to have some impact on our blood sugar level. When a surgery is scheduled our blood sugar needs to be in control. So, casein consumption should be discontinued at least two weeks before you will be undergoing a surgical procedure. (13)
7. Interacts With Certain Drugs:
Casein supplements should not be taken along with medicines used for controlling elevated blood pressure, as casein also is said to lower blood pressure. Some of these medicines are losartan, captopril, Amlodipine, valsartan etc.
8. Should Be Avoided By People With Certain Pre-existing Health Issues:
People who are suffering from diseases related to liver and kidneys should not take casein protein supplements. The extra protein will not be properly processed by the liver in such case and it will unnecessarily build up the toxic waste in the brain. Similarly, higher protein levels can injure the kidneys further. So, diabetics also should be cautious about overconsumption of casein. (14)
What Are The Indicators Of Casein Allergy
Sometimes we tend to confuse casein allergy with lactose intolerance as both stem from dairy products. Following are the ways by which you can identify if you are casein intolerant(15):
- Lactose intolerance primarily affects the digestive system and you tend to have gas, loose motions and bloating. In case of casein allergy, not only the digestive tract gets affected but some of the symptoms (from varied food allergies) that are seen include hives, cough, congestion, runny nose, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, pain in stomach etc. and in extreme cases anaphylactic shock.
- Confirmation of casein allergy: It can be confirmed using a basic skin test done by health care providers. In this test, little bit casein is put on the skin and observed for fifteen to twenty minutes to check out for any allergic reaction.
- Eliminate and reintroduce milk based items: You can just remove all milk products from your diet and then reintroduce one by one to check out for any allergic reactions. This would include buttermilk, cheese, pudding, chocolate, ice cream, custards, sour cream, baked items containing milk etc.
- You can also go for allergen specific IgE antibody test to find out whether you are allergic to casein-milk protein.
What Are The Casein Protein Takeaways
- Casein protein, a slow digesting protein taking up to seven hours is good for muscles that are re-growing and recovering either when you are asleep or following a severe resistance-training session.
- Casein protein powders should be chosen carefully. Some are mixed with other ingredients. If you are lactose intolerant you should check that out before purchasing.
- Depending on your protein needs and your aim to increase muscular mass you need to fix the dose of casein protein intake.
- As casein takes long to digest the timing of taking it has to correct. Take it either before going to sleep or if you have prolong gap between two main meals.
- You can mix casein powder with variety of liquids like milk, water etc.(16)