Where Casein Comes From
Casein protein, or specifically caseinates, comes from dairy products. In fact, Casein protein accounts for a very large percentage of the total protein found in milk. Casein is different from the whey protein found in milk, and is a type of protein that has been known to clot. It forms curds within products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. One of the most popular and wide spread types of casein comes in the form of calcium caseinate, and it is used quite often throughout the body building industry. Many MMA fighters have also used casein products to help regulate their muscle growth. Casein, like all other proteins is assigned a biological value. Although this value is particularly low for casein, it still has many benefits. While whey protein accounts for a large percentage of protein in human milk, Casein is the type that accounts for most of cow’s milk. Costs remain low as this protein is generally easy to manufacture and distribute- making it a great choice for many people.
What Casein Does
Casein is so unique and useful because of its digestive properties. After consumption, it can take between 7-8 hours easily to be fully absorbed by the body. The problem with this is that if it is taken in doses too high, casein has been known to cause stomach aches and some digestive problems. This is likely because the makeup of cow’s milk is generally denser than other liquids, meaning it is naturally harder to digest. Although it is inconclusive, many studies claim that different blood types have varying degrees of difficulty in how their body can handle casein. Some experience no problems at all with casein, while others have a very hard time and often get sick consuming it. If you’re someone who has had problems and stomach aches using casein, it may not be the right product for you.
Amino Acids in Casein
Because of the nutrients it has available, casein works for a number of different ways within the body. The ratio of tyrosine to tryptophan exists in a 5:1 ratio, which is something that gives it its special properties. These two nutrients work against each other, in that tyrosine sends signals of alertness to your system, where tryptophan tries to put it to sleep. Because of the high ratio, it isn’t uncommon to see boosted energy levels derived from casein. Mixed martial arts fighters and bodybuilders benefit greatly from something like this- as they generally require all the energy they can get.
Casein and Glucose
A number of essential amino acids are present in most proteins, and three glucogenic acids exist in casein that are significant. These three amino acids are threonine, glutamine, and arginine. Together, they work to increase glucose production in the body and is eventually converted to ATP for immediate energy. Considering everything, it’s no doubt many professional fighters and bodybuilders rely on using casein. With what it can do to stimulate energy levels and prevent muscle breakdown, there is no surprise casein is an important protein.
How Casein is processed
Calcium, potassium and sodium caseinate are inert proteins – pH adjustment and heat processing have rendered their fractions inactive. The fractions being Alpha-Lactalbumin, Beta-Lactalbumin, IgG Heavy (immunoglobulins), BSA (Bovine Serum Albumin), Lactofferin, Glyco Macro Peptides (GMP). All of which, including the added benefits of casomorphins are all intact in undenatured micellar casein. Because it casein is available in a number of qualities, micellar casein is generally the best one to search for if you’re considering buying. Because it clots together, it is extremely hard to get casein to blend with most liquids- but that isn’t any reason to not be using it. MMA fighters wouldn’t stop using the protein just because it was “hard to mix”. It is something that is essential, so they can stay in peak physical condition.
Benefits of using Casein
So you may be asking yourself why casein has become so popular within the last few years, and that is because it offers a number of benefits that you don’t see with any other kinds of protein. Arguably the biggest benefit of using casein is the slow rate at which it can be absorbed. Because casein clots, it actually forms a sort of “protein ball” within the stomach, and isn’t fully used up by the body for a long duration of time. This makes casein essential to fighting the breakdown of muscle, as it gives off the amino acids it has to offer for an extended duration of time. Whey protein is a type that doesn’t allow for this. Whey is great for an after-workout supplement, although because it is fully used up and absorbed by the body so quickly- it doesn’t give nourishment for a very long time. A lot of people now argue it is a good idea to combine proteins, so you’re actually getting the best of both worlds, in a sense. Because the two types of protein are so different, they usually work extremely well together. Whey protein often provides where casein protein is lacking, and casein often provides where whey is lacking- it is a completely symbiotic relationship. Casein protein is also extremely high in glutamine, which comprises a good portion of the total protein. Glutamine also works to support muscle stability and prevents muscle tissue breakdown. Because of this, many athletes and MMA fighters take casein right before going to sleep, as it is going to be the only thing preventing them from losing their hard-earned muscle overnight.
How to Take Casein
For every one gram of protein you have, you also have 4 total calories. Depending on your metabolism, if you’re looking to start packing on the pounds, you might need as much as 2 grams of protein for each pound of body weight. Those with slower metabolisms might get by with 1 gram per pound of body weight. Mixed martial arts fighters, bodybuilders, and boxers will probably be going through a lot more protein daily that the average person. Protein intake is obviously going to vary greatly with situation, and just because something works for one person does not mean it is going to work for you.