What is casein protein? Is it different from whey protein? When should I use it? These are questions that tend to pop up from time to time. Casein protein, found most commonly as micellar casein, is a great addition to any healthy eating lifestyle and due to its incredible versatility, can be added to nearly anything.
What Does Micellar Mean?
Micellar casein is derived from milk and accounts for about 80% of the total protein. Casein proteins are a group that consists of alpha casein, beta casein, gamma casein, delta casein, and kappa casein. When they are in a watery substance, they naturally form into micelles. These micelles create what is known as a micellar protein.
When one of the caseins in the group is removed, the protein starts to denature and becomes destroyed. Micelles have a higher bioavailability because denaturation doesn’t occur.
How Bioavailability and Denaturation Affect You
In simpler terms, bioavailability is how readily your body can use a nutrient. Caseins are often exposed to chemical processes to make them easier to incorporate into certain foods. This process causes denaturation which is a breakdown of the protein molecule.
Denaturation lowers the bioavailability of the protein which means you’ll be getting less of the protein molecule into your system. Lower bioavailability means less of the actual nutrient is getting used to help fuel your body.
How Does Casein Differ From Whey?
The most notable and relevant fact to know is the absorption rate. While whey protein has a relatively quick absorption rate that assimilates into your system in under an hour, casein proteins have a much slower digestion rate often taking up to eight hours to digest fully.
When casein enters your stomach, it naturally clumps together. The clumping slows down the absorption process drastically but yields several benefits in the process.
Unlike whey, a slow absorbing protein like casein delivers a slow and steady release of amino acids your body needs. The slow release will allow your body to continually repair itself over a longer timespan. In fact, Leucine, which is an amino acid that is critical in muscle repair, have been found in much higher numbers after seven hours when consuming casein instead of whey.
When Should I Use Casein Protein?
Right before your workout is the only time when casein wouldn’t directly be beneficial. In this case since whey’s has a faster absorption rate, it would be a better choice pre-workout.
With casein’s slower digestion rate, it is a great protein to consume anytime to increase your protein intake. It is also popular as a nighttime protein as it will continue to feed your body throughout the night.
How do I Get More Casein Protein?
The most popular food is plain old cow’s milk. Containing 80% casein and 20% whey, it’s an excellent way to get your casein protein.
If you’re looking for something a little tastier option, obviously I would recommend the ABS Protein Pancakes? With the ABS Pancake and Waffle Mixes, micellar casein is the very first ingredient. This means you’ll be getting a generous amount when you are cooking some delicious protein pancakes. After all, who says pancakes only have to be for breakfast?
The most important thing I would recommend with choosing a protein powder is to ensure that the ingredients listed in the product are coming from an All natural source and that there aren’t any artificial sweeteners in it. A lot of companies will try to cut cost on these supplement products by replacing natural sources for chemicals such as sucralose and aspartame because they are cheaper to source. This is also why your all natural products tend to be more expensive because they are coming from a quality place as opposed to just trying to create a cheap product.
Self education and continue to read/research articles like this are the best way to really understand your nutrition and what the best options are to incorporate into your fitness and meal plan regimen.
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