What Is Casein Protein? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Is Casein Protein?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Casein is a type of protein found in milk.
  • Casein makes up for 80% of the milk protein while whey makes up the remaining 20%
  • Casein is known to have a much slower absorption rate than whey protein.

There are two types of protein found in milk in which are casein and whey. Casein makes up almost 80% of all milk protein and is the curd that is used to make cheese. It is also used as a popular protein supplement and is rich in amino acids. It can also slow digestion leaving you to feel full longer.

Keep in mind that casein or supplementation of any kind is not enough for your overall health and fitness needs. Exercise is important. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

How Is Casein Used in Processed Foods?

You can find casein in a variety of processed foods and foods because it easily separated and makes an excellent binder. Casein forms a thick gel consistency that can act like glue in other foods.

Calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate, and sodium caseinate are all names you might see for casein. If you have an allergy to milk or casein you will need to avoid all caseinate derivatives.

You can find casein in things like non-dairy creamer and soy cheeses. If you live a vegan lifestyle you may want to avoid products that use casein to enhance their texture, taste, or flavor.

How Is Casein Used as a Protein Supplement?

Unlike other protein supplements, casein maintains a steady release of amino acids. It does not reach peak levels until 3-4 hours after consumption and can be maintained in the body for 7 hours. Other proteins like whey peak after 40 minutes.

Protein synthesis and protein breakdown are both essential functions for muscle growth. Casein is responsible for the protein breakdown process. This is because of its slow release into the bloodstream.

Casein is also an anabolic compound. These compounds stimulate growth. It also protects your body from the damage of hormones like cortisol.

Cortisol is a steroid produced by the adrenal gland. The body releases it to respond to stress but excessive amounts can breakdown muscle mass and weaken the immune system.

The key to using casein is when you take it. Casein is the only protein you should take before going to sleep.

This will allow the muscles to absorb the proteins more effectively. The muscles are at rest for the long period of time that casein remains in the bloodstream.

Casein can also be used as part of a meal replacement if you will need to go more than 3 hours without eating. The most benefit will come from a mix of casein and whey proteins.

Your best choice is a 50/50 blend of the two. The whey will give you immediate satisfaction and the casein will maintain the feeling of fullness for several hours.

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Does Casein Have Any Other Benefits?

Casein contains a large amount of calcium. According to Harvard Medical School, our bodies need calcium to prevent osteoporosis.

In addition to the calcium, casein has been shown in studies to also have immune system benefits and even a reduction in triglyceride levels after a meal.

Who Should Avoid Casein?

Anyone with a milk allergy or casein allergy should avoid products that may contain it. Casein allergies are the result of your body mistake the protein for a harmful substance.

Casein proteins might trigger a release of histamines that will cause symptoms like swelling, skin rash, congestion, coughing, and wheezing. Casein can also trigger a deadly reaction called anaphylaxis.

It is possible to be casein intolerant as well. This is not the same as an allergy even though some symptoms may be the same.

Intolerances and sensitivities create inflammation in the immune system as result of the body not being able to break the casein down properly.

If you have casein intolerance you should avoid all dairy products and foods that may contain milk. Unlike lactose, casein cannot be separated out of milk and still be in a drinkable form.

Remember to keep in mind that exercise will always be an important component of one’s overall health. Get started on your fitness journey today by going PRO and gaining access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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