So, you want to build muscle, boost performance and get in some of the best shape of your life — that’s great! But what does it take to meet those goals?
Well, right off the bat, we know determination and motivation are extremely necessary for muscle growth. To boost performance, a good warm-up is a must, and of course, having a dedicated workout regimen with challenging-yet-attainable goals can make all the difference in your fitness success.
However, if you’re referring to the chemical processes at work, then the key to getting stronger is none other than protein — and lots of it.
A quick search on the all-knowing Google will put you front-in-center to hundreds of products all promising to help with one thing or another — but you’re on a mission for one thing and one thing only. So after refining your inquiry a bit to list just the “protein supplements,” you finally come face to face with what you’re after: Protein powder.
The problem? You didn’t realize there were so many different options out there!
Should you use a fast-digesting whey protein? Or is casein powder the way to go? Perhaps a performance blend might be best. But then what’s this micellar casein you keep hearing about?
The gold standard for casein protein powders, micellar casein, is the purest form of casein on the planet — but what exactly is it, and how does it compare to whey?
You have questions, and we have answers. Read on to get the full scoop on micellar casein to discover if it’s the right supplement for you and your fitness goals.
Are you ready?
Let’s dive in!
Protein 101: Understanding The Basics
To really understand what casein is, let’s first go over the basics of protein, shall we?
Affecting everything from cell signaling to muscle-building and immune function to hormonal balance, it goes without saying that protein plays a pretty important role in our biology and physiology.
Protein is ubiquitous in the body because it is the very substance that our genes produce. So, all living things — whether it’s a budding flower, a teeny-tiny ant, or a great big grizzly bear — contain protein.
To take it a step further, the human proteome — a blueprint of all the different proteins in the body — is estimated to be upwards of 400,000 unique proteins. As many as 100 different proteins can potentially be produced from a single gene.
Naturally, you can see why the essential macronutrient is such an integral class of molecules for life as we know it!
Now, to be clear, this certainly doesn’t mean that we need to load up on thousands of different proteins to function optimally, no sir.
You see, the protein we get through a balanced diet and supplementation is first and foremost a source of amino acids — aka, the building blocks of protein. These little “building blocks” are then used by the body to form the proteins that emerge from genes.
Hold Up — Amino Acids?
Yup, amino acids. And not just one —to run like a smooth operator, your body needs 20 different amino acids. Though all 20 of these are significant for your health, only nine are classified as essential.
Unlike nonessential amino acids, the body can’t make essential amino acids, so it’s imperative to get these nutrients through the food you eat or the supplements you take.
So, with that in mind, what’s the easiest way to ensure you’re getting all nine essential amino acids to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine? Simple, take a premium quality protein powder like casein.
What Is Casein?
Casein is one of the two proteins found in milk and other dairy products. The other is whey.
These popular proteins begin their life as components of milk that separate when heated, causing solid curds to form on top of the liquid. This liquid substance is the whey protein, which is later washed and dried into a powdered form.
As for the remaining curbs? That’s casein and can also be washed and dried to create a protein powder.
Casein vs. Whey
Like whey, casein is a complete animal protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids — those that your body can’t make on its own. In addition to being vital for general health, these amino acids are crucial to helping your muscles get bigger and stronger.
Also, like whey, casein is rich in other excellent nutrients that often get ignored but offer some incredible health benefits.
That being said, although they are pretty similar, one of the major differences between casein and whey is how quickly your body absorbs them.
After protein consumption, the body breaks the macronutrient down into amino acids, circulating in the bloodstream until they are absorbed. When you consume casein, levels of these amino acids will remain elevated in the blood for four to five hours but only 90 minutes after consuming whey.
This is because the two popular proteins digest at different rates — whey is a fast-digesting protein, whereas casein is a slow-digesting protein. Therefore, casein provides the body with a slow, steady release of amino acids, making it the superior protein to take before fasting situations, such as sleep.
On the flip side, since your body digests and absorbs whey much faster, taking this protein immediately after a good sweat sesh is ideal as it will kickstart the muscle repair and rebuilding process.
So, What Exactly Is Micellar Casein?
The protein in milk can be found in tiny structures called micelles. These are microscopically small spheres that contain around 25,000 casein molecules each.
Micellar casein is the purest casein protein supplement on the market.
It’s made by taking milk and separating the casein curds from the liquid whey using filtration methods. This tedious process leaves the casein micelles perfectly intact in the finished product.
The casein protein actually remains undenatured until it reaches the stomach. After that, it gets broken down into the amino acids your muscles can then utilize for repair and synthesis.
This incredible tendency of micellar casein means that it will take your system hours to completely break down and metabolize all of that protein, keeping your body nourished with a sustained supply of amino acids the entire time.
What Is Casein Hydrolysate?
Like micellar casein, casein hydrolysate is a form of casein. However, unlike micellar, this type of protein is pre-digested and already broken down into amino acids and peptides. Due to this, casein hydrolysate is absorbed by the body rapidly. Some say it might actually be too rapid, especially if you want to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
That being said, if you’re looking for a fast-digesting protein, whey is typically the way to go.
Casein can be taken in two different forms: casein hydrolysate and micellar casein.
Hydrolyzed protein is absorbed by the body rapidly because it is pre-digested and already broken down into amino acids and peptides. Similar to whey, this type of protein is best right after a tough workout.
On the other hand, micellar casein forms clumps in the stomach after consumption, causing your system to digest it slowly. Due to this particular tendency, micellar casein is ideal for taking before fasting situations, such as sleep.
So, which is the better protein, you ask?
Both types of protein are very different and provide unique advantages that it’s counterpart can’t. For this reason, both proteins deserve a place in your supplement stack. Or, you could always reach for a blend, like our Signature Series Precision Blend Protein powder.
This premium quality protein powder is truly something remarkable. It contains Pasture Fed Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Isolate, and Micellar Casein.
As Such, Precision BLEND can claim a much higher level of protein purity and a powerful amino acid profile to provide your body with the nourishing nutrients, it needs to get bigger and stronger sooner rather than later. What’s not to love?
Here at BioHealth, we take great pride in creating some of the cleanest supplements on the market and having some of the most advanced flavors on the planet.
Whether you have a hankering for caramel macchiato, chocolate peanut butter, or strawberry shortcake, you can count on us to have just what you need to help keep you on track with your nutrition and fitness goals.