Many believe casein protein powder has positive effects on body composition and muscle strength. But does it really work? Let’s look at the science behind casein protein, the health benefits, and what it can do for you!

What is Casein?

Casein is a protein that makes up approximately 80% of the total protein in cow’s milk. The quality of casein varies depending on what kind of cow it comes from; animals with higher quality (and more expensive) caseins can have as much as 92% casein content. This means that only about 8% of cow’s milk consists of other proteins like whey or lactose.

There are four main types of protein: whey, casein, soy, and egg. Of these, casein makes up around 80% of our body’s daily protein needs. So we must understand what it is and how it works to help us live happy and healthy lives.

Types of Casein

The most common type of casein protein is alpha-casein, which makes up around 80% of milk protein. There are five other types of casein protein, which are more rarely found in milk. These include beta-casein, gamma-casein, kappa-casein, sigma-casein and delta-casein. According to Legion Athletics, “Micellar casein is a form of casein protein that has been produced in a way that maximally preserves its slow-digesting properties.”

Uses in the Body

Considered a slow protein, which means it releases amino acids into your bloodstream more slowly. This makes casein an ideal choice before bedtime. The body requires a steady stream of small amounts of amino acids while you sleep, so eating slow-release proteins like casein at night can help prevent hunger in the middle of the night and aid in muscle recovery.

Health Benefits:

  • Improves muscle growth
  • Maintains muscle mass while you lose weight
  • Increases strength and stamina
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • May prevent osteoporosis (when combined with calcium)
  • Prevents exercise-induced oxidative stress
  • Helps prevent type 2 diabetes (and aid in recovery from that disease)

Many studies have found that those who use casein before bed gain more muscle than those who don’t. As per some research, it can even help increase lean muscle mass.

Side Effects

There are no known side effects of using casein protein powder. It’s also lactose-free, so it doesn’t contain sugar or dairy, which means it’s safe for those with allergies to either of these substances. Most brands don’t add any artificial sweeteners or flavors, making them great options for vegans as well.

Additional Tips

Before you start any new diet, consult with a medical professional. People who have food allergies should be cautious about avoiding casein, as you can find it in various dairy products. When shopping, be sure to check allergen information on labels, as an allergy could present as gastrointestinal distress, breathing difficulties, or even anaphylaxis. For people without known allergies to milk or other dairy products, casein protein offers benefits similar to other types of protein powders available at most local gyms.

From what we’ve explored so far, it’s clear that casein protein comes with many benefits. Research suggests it can help us burn more fat while gaining less muscle (compared to other proteins). There are some notable drawbacks to consider: side effects such as constipation and bloating aren’t uncommon.