Understanding Whey Protein and Casein

There are two types of protein powders out there, whey protein and casein protein.  Both types of protein are essential for building muscle.  If used in the right context they can reduce the catabolic effect and improve the recovery and repair of worked muscle.  Here is  a brief description of the two proteins.

Whey protein is the most abundant type of protein powder. Whey is a derivative of cheese. When cheese is produced there is a fine liquid that is left over.  This liquid is dehydrated to form whey protein powder. Whey protein is a relatively inexpensive protein and can be produced in high quantities. Whey protein is a fast acting protein. Fast acting in the sense that it absorbs quickly through the digestive channels. It enters the bloodstream within twenty minutes of ingestion, and is utilized by the tissues that need protein (muscle). The protein will cycle through the blood system until it is degraded into an unusable compound. At that point it will be eliminated out of the body. When the body does not require high levels of protein, the excess protein is broken down into urea and or glucose. Urea is a by-product of urine. Glucose is a carbohydrate that can be formed from extra amino acids that are floating around in the bloodstream. High protein diets will promote gluconeogenesis. This is why when you are eating enough protein throughout the day you never crave sugars. This is because the protein is used first by the tissues that need it, second is converted into glucose, and third is converted into urea to be eliminated.  As long as you are pumping the system with protein in the correct amount you will be feeling energized and satisfied.

Peak production of whey protein once it enters into the bloodstream is about fifty minutes. After that it begins to degrade in the blood.  This is why it is important to continually feed the body with protein. Because it doesn’t last long in the blood system and must be replenished in order to keep feeding the tissues, especially muscles.  Remember, when you breakdown the tissue you must rebuild it. It is a constant battle between protein synthesis and breakdown.  If you only take in a little protein, the tissues won’t get enough to rebuild and repair.

Casein is also a derivative of cheese and milk.  The protein molecular structure of casein is more bound than that of whey protein. For this reason, casein is a slower metabolizing protein.  Casein, like whey, will travel through the digestive channels with relative ease and will bypass strenuous hydrolysis through the liver.  Once casein enters into the blood stream, peak production can last between three to four hours.  This is considerably longer than whey. This is a good protein to ingest after a long intense exercise bout.  The muscles are tired and in need of a good supply of protein. So it only makes sense that you would want to keep an ample supply of protein coursing through the blood system to restore and constantly feed the muscle.  Keeping the muscle fed ample amounts of protein will drastically reduce catabolism.  Catabolism is the kiss of death to the bodybuilder.

Remember, that amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  Protein powders are a great way to get a high concentration of amino acids into the blood system. You must keep amino acids high in your system. Positive nitrogen balance.

Here are my suggestions for using protein supplementation to your advantage.

Supplement your daily diet with both whey and casein protein shakes.

It is best to consume a whey protein forty minutes after your regular protein food meal.  The reason for this is because whenever you eat regular food you turn on the digestive channels, which in turn activate the secretion of hormones, insulin and glucagon.  With these hormones activated the cells become more permeable because their insulin sensitive receptors have become turned on.  This allows for the amino acids to enter into to the cells. Food, depending value and consistency, varies in absorption speed. It could take a while for all the nutrients to enter into the blood stream.  Having a whey protein shake will force a fast absorption of amino acids into the bloodstream allowing greater uptake into the muscle cells.

Now consume a casein meal, whether from a protein shake or food, three hours after the initial whey protein meal.  This will slow down protein breakdown and keep amino acids high in the blood stream.  The key is to saturate the blood system with amino acids to stay in an anabolic condition.  This is what building muscle is all about.

By manipulating protein throughout the day in the correct fashion will  help you on the road to increasing muscle.

Now go eat some protein and grow!!!!

tags: protein, daryl conant, Vince Gironda, Ron Kosloff, strength, bodybuilding, nutrition