Protein supplements are getting more and more popular today. The most popular protein supplement is most likely Whey Protein. Whey protein is commonly talked about in Gym’s and Fitness Clubs everywhere. Protein, Creatine, that funky blue liquid that some guy drinks during his workout…it might be hard to grasp the uses of all the individual supplements on the market today.
If you’re unsure what Casein is, just start with the fact that it is a protein supplement. We will now compare the two by explaining what whey protein is, along with the effects/benefits/uses of that particular supplement, followed by Casein.
Whey is a term that describes the translucent portion of milk that is kept after the process of cheese manufacturing has been completed. This liquid that is left over is purified and separated using certain techniques that result in varying degree’s of concentration/potency of whey proteins. These differences result in Whey Protein Concentrates, Hydrolyzed Whey Powder, and Isolates. Each may be used for a different purpose.
Casein is a major component that is available in bovine milk. This particular protein source accounts for around 80% of the protein found in bovine milk. The white color of the milk is also a result from the casein protein. If it’s easier to explain, consider Casein as a complete milk protein.
Milk proteins are essential for replenishing vitamins and nutrients, along with biologically active peptides. Other benefits to casein include an abundance of Calcium and Phosphorus.
Whey vs. Casein
Which supplement should you take? I’d recommend BOTH, as both provide different benefits in terms of protein synthesis. A study by Boirie et all (1997) concludes that a 30g serving of Whey, along with Casein, has significantly different effects on postprandial gain.
Whey protein ingestion results in the appearance of plasma from amino acids to be available to the body much more quickly compared to casein, which is absorbed much more slowly.
What does this mean? More results from Boirie et al was that the protein synthesis from whey protein was dramatically higher than casein – more than twice the value. Casein, however, resulted in a much higher net leucine balance after 7 hours post ingestion. These findings have concluded to most bodybuilders, strength athletes, and gym goers that both proteins can be used for different effects.
It is a common recommendation to take casein, due to it’s slow effect on protein synthesis and digestion, before bed. Whey protein should be used post workout and during other times of the day when a fast uptake of protein is needed, with an emphasis on post-workout.
Mass and strength effects
Different study’s will come proving which supplement is responsible for this and that, and which supplement is better, but determining whether or not to make much sense of certain findings without knowing a lot about control groups and the million other variables found in day-to-day life that is responsible for muscle building, fat loss, and other health effects. Some findings have shown that supplementing with casein have resulted in strength gains as opposed to whey. I’m sure there are other small studies that have shown the opposite.
It is important to realize other variables – beyond the supplementation of casein and whey, are what can be the biggest determining factor in how much strength and mass you gain with these supplements. Whey generally has a greater bioavailability and amino acid profile than casein.
When to take Casein and Whey
As stated earlier, it is logical to supplement casein protein before bed, or when you’re going to be a decent amount of time without a quick protein source. Supplement whey protein upon waking up or post workout, when a quick and fast-ingesting source of protein is needed.