The question people ask in the gym is, “what should I use as my protein source: Whey or Casein and why?” The opinion is divided and majority tends towards whey just because they use it regularly and experienced the benefits.
Some do use Casein, just because either someone recommended or they are consuming without knowing. Their experience is reliable but they rather keep their opinions muffled. But this situation does not answer our query on which one is better and why; or whether both are equally effective and cannot replace each other’s positions.
Friends, we take this question seriously and put all the pros and cons and then try to arrive at some conclusion. Without further ado, let us start.
Both Whey and Casein come from milk. The former is the liquid resulting from cheese making process whereas the latter is the curdled milk itself. Whey exists up to 20% and casein the balance in milk. On one hand Greek Yogurt has more protein and calories whereas casein is more in cottage cheese.
Importance of Whey Protein
Whey has a definite purpose as it helps to recover fast after resistance training. It also assists in new muscle synthesis. This is the sole reason why bodybuilders depend so much on whey protein. Whey being absolute liquid our body quickly absorbs the nutrients.
Studies show that consuming whey protein increases amino acid levels in our blood in one hour and peaking just under 90 minutes.
But there is one another need which cannot be overlooked and is addressed by whey’s sibling, the casein protein.
Importance of Casein Protein
Preventing muscle breakdown is equally important while building muscle size and strength and this is where the casein protein comes into play. Casein is a slow digesting protein compared to whey which is fast. But it has its own benefits that surpass the whey. Due to the slow digestion, casein protein takes longer to increase blood amino acids BUT lasts longer with the elevated level lasts over 5 hours.
Casein’s claim to fame is the presence of Glutamine, the most abundant free amino acid found in our muscles. This Glutamine is readily available when synthesis of skeletal muscle proteins is needed. Since this amino acid, glutamine helps build and maintain muscle, supplemental glutamine is useful for dieters and bodybuilders alike.
Benefits of Whey and Casein at a glance
Sometimes it is better to understand when information is presented as a snapshot.
Parameter Casein Whey
Complete Protein Yes Yes
Leucine Quantity Low Yes
Glutamine High Low
Rate of Absorption Slow Fast
Amino acid staying duration in blood Long Short
When to Have for Best Results
Whey protein works best before and after workouts as it reaches muscle fibers quickly. Once this happens the muscles have the much needed energy and the nutrients stimulate protein synthesis.
Casein works best at bedtime as a lot of muscle repair occurs during sleep. It digests slowly and sometimes forms clots in stomach. The inbuilt glutamine in casein helps to preserve muscles. The slow release process helps casein in releasing amino acids for a longer duration and is apt when there is almost zero activity when we sleep.
Well, it should not come as a surprise. For everything done in the day, Whey should be the protein by choice. And when you retire for the day, casein protein is the one you should choose. In fact, you are only consuming milk throughout the day but effectively using the parts, intelligently.
We recommend using both, Whey and Casein for your entire sets of bodybuilding needs. You just cannot go wrong on this selection. Together, both whey and casein pack a powerful punch as one stimulates the protein synthesis whereas casein beautifully compliments its sibling. It inhibits the breakdown of protein.
Ensure that the whey protein and casein protein you consume is of high quality as all your bodybuilding results depend almost wholly on them.