Casein

 

The advantages at a glance:

Provides primarily a contribution to the preservation of muscle mass

Contributes to the preservation of normal bones

Ideal for long-term supply with amino acids

Optimal to take before bedtime

Ideal dietary protein

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All about casein

General Information

Casein, also known as casein, is one of the two components of milk protein. The protein in cow's milk is 80% casein, with whey protein accounting for the remaining 20%. Both proteins are therefore natural and come from cow's milk.

Besides cow's milk, goat and sheep's milk also provides casein. A particularly high content of casein can be found above all in curd cheese and cheese (e.g. cottage cheese or Harz cheese).

As a protein powder, casein is usually available in the following variants:
  • Micellar casein
  • Calcium caseinate
Through the process of microfiltration, micellar casein is obtained from the milk protein, which retains its natural structure through this gentle manufacturing process and is therefore particularly valuable. In this context we speak of undenatured or natural casein. Calcium caseinate, on the other hand, is a denatured protein, as it is the end product of an acid precipitation. It should be noted that in a comparison of the two variants, micellar casein provides a better biological value and also has a higher quality amino acid profile.

Micellar casein usually has a protein content of 80 - 83% absolute and is rich in essential amino acids (EAAs) and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). In addition, casein protein provides a considerable amount of glutamine and above average values of the semi-essential amino acid arginine. Glutamine in particular is one of the most important amino acids in modern sports nutrition, as it is involved in numerous bodily functions and is particularly important in dietary phases and other stressful situations. In addition to this excellent amino acid profile, micellar casein also supplies bioactive milk peptides in the form of casomorphins as well as glyco-macro-peptides and thus offers further functionalities for the ambitious athlete.

Casein in sport

Casein is one of the best known and most popular proteins in modern sports nutrition. Both competitive athletes and ambitious hobby athletes from various sports appreciate the benefits of casein protein.

Especially bodybuilders and fitness sportsmen and women love Micellar Casein, because it is scientifically proven that Casein Protein contributes to muscle building and muscle maintenance. In general, casein protein enjoys great popularity in all sports where a long-lasting supply of amino acids is important.

In order to ensure a long-lasting supply of protein, many athletes rely on the consumption of casein-containing foods in addition to casein protein shakes. Low-fat curd cheese is probably the best-known protein carrier, which supplies plenty of casein protein. Another source of protein, which is also often found on the diet of figure-conscious and performance-oriented athletes, is the so-called cottage cheese.

Although it is also possible to obtain casein protein from various foods, a casein protein shake offers the athlete numerous advantages. In addition to the quick and uncomplicated consumption and the variety of tastes, there are also advantages in terms of the nutritional profile. This becomes clear with the following example. To obtain 25g of protein from low-fat curd, it is necessary to consume over 200g of low-fat curd. While this portion also provides over 8g of carbohydrates, 30g of micellar casein also provides the athlete with 25g of protein, but at the same time contains an extremely low carbohydrate content of only 0.6g. Especially in strict dietary phases or in diets that reduce carbohydrates to an absolute minimum (e.g. anabolic diets), this can be a decisive advantage.

Due to its properties, especially the figure-conscious bodybuilding and fitness athletes prefer to use casein protein in the dietary phase, in which they pursue the goal of achieving maximum muscle maintenance with simultaneous reduction of body fat percentage. In this context casein protein is therefore often referred to as diet protein.

Mode of action

It is scientifically proven that casein protein contributes to building and maintaining muscle mass. As a slow protein, casein enters the blood pool very slowly and much less massively than whey protein. However, the retention time of the amino acids is up to 8 hours and is therefore significantly higher than that achieved with whey protein. Therefore casein is also called anti-catabolic (muscle-preserving), because the amino acid level in the blood is constantly maintained.  Muscle maintenance is particularly important in a calorie-reduced diet, as there is a high risk of losing muscle mass that has been laboriously built up through catabolism. The term catabolism refers to the breakdown of metabolic products such as muscle mass. This undesirable metabolic process can become a danger to the athlete in the following situations, among others:

  • Dietary phase
  • during or after training
  • during or after sleep
  • in long periods of fasting
If the body enters a catabolic metabolic state, it is able to use up to 40% of the body protein for energy production. Due to the property of casein protein to remain in the blood pool for a longer period of time, supplementation thus ensures effective support for muscle protection.

In addition to the aforementioned effect of contributing to muscle building and muscle maintenance, casein protein also contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, which is another advantage for the active athlete that is associated with the intake of protein such as casein.

To extend the functionalities of micellar casein from the Peak Performance Products range, 10 essential vitamins are added to protein. These added vitamins fulfil various functionalities that have been scientifically proven. Furthermore, micellar casein contains lactase.

Use and side effects

While whey protein is used by many successful weightlifters and bodybuilders in the post-workout phase and can play out its strengths there, casein is a protein that is optimally taken as a snack and especially as the last meal of the day due to its slow absorption properties. Especially in the evening, casein protein can reach its full potential to support muscle maintenance during the sleep phase overnight. This is the reason why casein is also called "night-time protein". Due to its functionalities, casein protein is particularly - but not exclusively - ideal as a dietary protein to act as a meal replacement or snack between meals.

The intake of casein protein powder is recommended with water or milk. In dietary phases it is advisable to prefer consumption in water. This makes it possible to consume high-quality protein without having to take in additional calories. In mass building phases, however, athletes can use the trick of mixing casein protein with milk to increase the calorie density of the shake through the nutritional value of the milk. This is of particular interest for so-called hardgainers, who have problems building muscle or generally gaining weight due to their body type and certain metabolic characteristics.

In addition to consumption as a shake, Micellar Casein from Peak Performance Products also allows you to consume it in the form of a pudding due to its particularly creamy consistency. This protein pudding can be prepared easily and quickly with a hand mixer, either with water or milk. Depending on the amount of liquid, the result is a stiffly whipped pudding which, even when prepared with water, is very tasty and represents an ideal low-carbohydrate and low-fat dietary meal.

Micellar casein is also an ideal protein for preparing numerous fitness recipes that allow the athlete to "feast without regrets".

The amount of casein protein you should consume daily depends primarily on your physical goals and your diet and other supplementation. While non-athletes already sufficiently cover their needs with a protein amount of 0.8g protein per kg/body weight, there is a consensus in sports nutrition that this value is by no means sufficient for athletes. For muscle building, the relevant recommendation is to consume at least 2g protein per kg/body weight daily. For dietary phases, even protein amounts of 2.5g protein per Kg/body weight are recommended in order to sufficiently take into account the muscle maintenance factor. These recommendations of the total amount consist of your regular diet as well as the intake of supplements.

Increased protein consumption is often erroneously associated with increased kidney load, which would result in health problems. Studies (Portmanns and Dellalieux, 2000), on the other hand, show that a daily protein intake of up to 2.8g per kg/body weight can be considered harmless for people with healthy kidneys.

While healthy people who do not suffer from food intolerances can consume casein protein without side effects, casein protein is not suitable for people who suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance manifests itself after the consumption of dairy products in the form of flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain. The reason for this is that the organism of lactose-intolerant people is not able to digest the lactose contained in milk products. Whereas in lactose-tolerant people, the lactose consumed is processed in the small intestine, in lactose-intolerant people it reaches the large intestine, where fermentation causes the symptoms of lactose intolerance. This is because the enzyme lactase is not or only in sufficient quantity available to these groups of people, which is responsible for splitting the lactose in the small intestine into mucilage and glucose. This splitting ensures that the lactose can be absorbed through the mucous membrane of the small intestine.

There are also intolerances to milk protein or especially to casein. For people who are denied the use of slowly digestible casein protein due to intolerance to lactose, milk protein or casein, the use of slow digestible casein protein is recommended, such as LII-Protein Complex, which consists of egg albumin. Another alternative is the purely vegetable vegan protein isolate, which is composed of rice protein and pea protein isolate.