Although whey protein is the most popular protein on the supplement market, casein protein is another high-quality protein source you may want to consider. Like whey, casein protein is an animal protein derived from cow’s milk. As such, it is a complete protein, providing all the essential amino acids your body needs for muscle growth and repair.
Here are four reasons you might want to consider adding casein protein to your nutrition plan.
1. Optimal Overnight Muscle Recovery
The main difference between casein vs whey is a matter of timing. Whey is a fast-acting protein, while casein protein is “slow release,” because it breaks down in the body much more gradually than whey (over the course of several hours). Because of this, casein protein is often referred to as a nighttime protein, commonly taken just before bed to maximize the slow-release benefits. Research like this study supports taking protein at bedtime for optimal muscle protein synthesis and recovery. The slow digestion rate and steady supply of amino acids to the muscle tissue supplied by casein protein help reduce muscle breakdown.
2. Improved Weight Loss/Weight Management
Casein protein may help with weight loss by increasing the body’s Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Your RMR is the number of calories burned when your body is at complete rest. While at rest, your body still performs many functions that require energy (thinking, breathing, maintaining body temperature, circulating blood, etc.). The higher your RMR, the more calories you burn by simply existing. In this study, casein protein taken at bedtime was shown to increase the morning RMR in women (men were not included in the study).
3. An Ideal Bedtime Snack
Let’s face it—all the training you do makes you hungry, and oftentimes dinner just isn’t enough. If you long for a snack before bed, a casein protein shake is a great idea. Not only will it curb your nighttime hunger and help your muscles repair while you rest, it may even help you sleep. Anecdotally, many people report that casein protein taken at bedtime improves their Zs. Think of casein protein as the athlete’s equivalent of a glass of warm milk!
4. A Stronger Smile
Here’s another reason to smile: not only can casein protein help your muscles recover, it may help your teeth stay strong, too. A standard scoop of casein protein powder contains a whopping 50% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of calcium. (Whey protein, on the other hand, provides only 8% of the RDI.) The calcium and phosphates in casein may help reduce or prevent erosion of tooth enamel, say studies like this one.
It’s easy to see why casein protein is an excellent choice for people wanting a high-quality protein to aid muscle recovery, and that offers other potential benefits, too. Casein protein powder does tend to be a bit harder to mix than whey protein powder, however. That’s why we suggest mixing your casein protein shake in the all-new BlenderBottle® Classic™ shaker. The bottle’s rounded base allows the BlenderBall® whisk to mix every last bit of stubborn powder, ensuring a smooth drink.
Looking to learn about different sources of protein? Why it protein matters? And the pros and cons of different protein powders? Download our free e-book, The Ultimate Starter Guide to Protein.