What is it?
Casein protein is, in many ways, the counterpart of whey protein. It is the second major protein source found in milk but unlike whey’s fast acting digestion, casein acts very slowly, taking several hours to fully deliver its amino acids to the body.
Why is it useful?
Casein actually slows the breakdown of protein in the muscles, which typically happens fastest immediately following a workout. This makes it a perfect foil for whey, since it boosts the protein recovery process, meaning the two combined help the body to heal damaged muscles without sacrificing any proteins vital in maintaining consistent muscle growth.
Casein is also rich in calcium, making for a perhaps more unexpected benefit. Calcium assists in fat loss but ironically, is normally sourced primarily from dairy products, which most people cut down on when attempting to get in shape and tone up. This means that taking casein can help make up for the deficit and ensure your body still has all the calcium it needs to battle the bulge.
How much should you take?
Since it is so slow reacting, most people don’t bother to take any casein before exercising, as the workout would be finished long before the protein kicked in. It is best suited for afterwards, to gradually replace and repair proteins burned up during your session, as well as at night before you go to bed, so your body can recover while you sleep without draining any muscle gained that day.
20 grams after your workout and an additional 20 grams before bed are advised but you can also find a good supply of casein in wholefood products such as Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese and low-fat milk mixed with whey.