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Casein Or Whey? Benefits and Disadvantages Everyone Should Know!

Casein Or Whey? Benefits & Disadvantages Everyone Should Know!

There seems to be a great deal of controversy over which one is better. From the following information you can see that each offers distinct advantages. Here's information that directly compares casein and whey.

Casein Protein

Casein Protein constitutes 80 percent of milk protein. It is recognized for its excellent amino acid content, slow digestion, and anti-catabolic effect.

Benefits

It's slow to digest, clots in the stomach, and appears to be anti-catabolic due to this effect. It contains dairy calcium (which is important for bone health and body comp effects).

Disadvantages

Slow digestion can be a negative before or after training when you are trying to get amino acids into the system quickly. People who have problems with lactose may have gas, and some people are allergic, which can cause bloating. The sodium content can cause bloating as well (important before a bodybuilding contest and for making weight).

Recommendations

It should be used at meals (can be combined with other proteins) and at bedtime. It should not be used when trying to accelerate amino acid absorption.

Sources

Dairy, Casein Concentrates.

Whey Protein

Whey is a natural byproduct of the cheese-making process (from milk). Approximately 20 percent of the protein found in milk is whey protein. Whey is rich in branch chain amino acids, lactose, minerals, and vitamins and contains lactalbumin (similar to serum albumin) and traces of fat.

Whey protein has been shown to increase protein synthesis. Some studies have also indicated that whey contributes to immune function among others.

Whey has also shown powerful antioxidant effects as it enhances glutathione levels. Glutathione is a tri-peptide that contains one amino acid residue from each of the following: glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Glutathione occurs widely in plant and animal tissues and plays a major role in protecting skeletal muscle and other body tissues from oxidative damage.

Glutathione helps maintain compounds such as iron in its proper oxidation state in hemoglobin. Protein sources containing high levels of cysteine (whey contains 2-2.5 percent cysteine) may be effective in maintaining or replenishing whole blood glutathione.

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Whey Protein Supplements

Whey protein isolate is the most pure and concentrated form of whey protein available. It contains 90 percent or more protein and very little (if any) fat and lactose. Whey protein concentrate has anywhere between 29-89 percent protein depending upon the product.

As the protein level in whey protein concentrate decreases, the amounts of fat and/or lactose usually increases. Another type of whey protein supplement is whey protein hydrolysates, meaning that the whey is predigested into peptides (small chains of amino acids). These supposedly help the protein be absorbed better.

Benefits

Increased protein synthesis, enhanced immune function and antioxidant activity, and fast absorption.

Disadvantages

It has not been shown to be effective at decreasing protein degradation (in most cases).

Recommendations

This is excellent to consume around workout time due to its fast absorption rate. Consume it pre-, during, or immediately post-workout.

Sources

Milk, byproduct of cheese production, milk protein isolates, whey protein supplements.

Casein Versus Whey

There seems to be a great deal of controversy over which one is better. I get the question all the time. From the information above, you can see that each offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. Below is information that directly compares casein and whey.

A study conducted by Yves Boirie looked at healthy subjects with a normal protein intake. They fasted for ten hours then were either given 30 grams of whey protein or 30 grams of casein (milk) protein.

The study showed blood leucine levels peaked in one hour after ingestion of whey or casein. However, the whey group peaked at higher levels and returned to baseline after four hours. The casein group peaked at a lower level but didn't return to baseline until seven hours later.

Whey protein enhanced protein synthesis (postprandial protein synthesis was stimulated by 68 percent with the whey protein), but did not effect protein degradation. Casein decreased protein degradation, (protein breakdown was inhibited by 34 percent after casein ingestion) but did not effect protein synthesis.

Postprandial whole body leucine oxidation over seven hours was lower with casein. Leucine intake was identical in both meals. Therefore, the net leucine balance over the seven hours after the meal was more positive with casein than with whey.

The study conducted by Boirie points out the benefits of both proteins as we mentioned earlier. Keep in mind that a mixed protein meal would have a different absorption rate that might change the effects on protein synthesis and breakdown. With the information from the study above, we must question the old saying, "We need to eat every three hours or we will lose muscle" (probably started by a supplement company).

A study by Tipton concluded that the acute ingestion of both whey and casein after exercise resulted in similar increases (no significant differences) in muscle protein net balance, resulting in net muscle protein synthesis despite different patterns of blood amino acid responses.

On a final note, one study indicated that whey protein might be more beneficial than casein in elderly subjects to limit body protein loss. However, more long-term studies are needed to confirm this age-related effect.

References
  1. Hale, J. (2007). Protein Essentials. MaxCondition Publishing.

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LeighDonnellon

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LeighDonnellon

Seems simple, whey protein throughout the day and casein before bed. Best of both worlds.

Mar 6, 2012 2:44am | report
BIG2BEST

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BIG2BEST

agreed

Mar 13, 2012 11:29am | report
joelcorona1

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joelcorona1

so lets see if i got this correct im new at this. I want to build muscle. whey protein before and after my work outs, and casein before bed. Whey as soon as I wake up. Or should I be consuming more whey during the day.

Sep 4, 2012 2:28pm | report
inaka_rob

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inaka_rob

BUT!!!! studies have shown that anti-catoblism is MORE important to getting stronger and bigger muscles than protein synthesis. People have been saying "protein protein protein. You need it for protein synthesis!" Yes, and yes you need protein synthesis to get bigger stronger muscles, but when you body goes into a catoblic state, which can happen ALL the time if you are not super careful (over training, stress, not enough rest, not enough protein, etc). Your muscles get .01 gram bigger in one day of growth, but you body destroys .005 grams of that becuase of the catabloic nature of the body (I tottaly made those numbers and proportions up, but that's the basics of it). So why not mix both proteins EVERY time. or why not take casein 3 times a day to get 24 hours coverage limiting your anti-catoblic states?

Dec 24, 2012 12:35am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 14'7"
  • wt: 175.56 lbs
  • bf: 16.0%
xRM25x

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xRM25x

Great read and the videos were very helpful.

Feb 19, 2013 12:15am | report
Grailz

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Grailz

Good read, I'll stick to whey!

Apr 6, 2013 1:16pm | report
Rhino71894

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Rhino71894

Perfect in a stack to get whey and casein! Ultimate protein intake throughout the day. Big gains!

Jul 23, 2013 2:52pm | report
razor2002

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razor2002

So would the following schedule make sense?

6 AM Get up
7-8 AM Lifting
8 AM Whey (lasting ~2 hrs)
11 AM Lunch Casein (lasting ~7 hrs)
5 PM Supper Whey (lasting ~2 hrs)
9 PM Casein (lasting ~7 hrs)
10 PM Bedtime

Sep 5, 2013 3:14pm | report
JoeC0

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JoeC0

That's why your bf is in double digits. Go 16 hours without any food. Don't give your body casein to consume late at night. You'll still get big and you'll get cut.

Jan 9, 2014 11:57am | report
SugaKitty

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SugaKitty

Can I combine the 2 of them? For instance, take casein at bed time and in the morning and use the whey before and post work out time?

Article Rated:
Dec 17, 2013 1:33pm | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 12'10"
  • wt: 154.1 lbs
  • bf: 24.6%
Showing 1 - 10 of 10 Comments

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