What is Casein Protein and When Should I Take it?

I want to be honest, I had never tried casein protein until a few months ago, when I was watching a "health & fitness" show on TV where they were talking about it.

Before then I just thought that whey protein was the good quality protein, and casein was the "cheap" one...

Well I was wrong...

And I am glad that "What is casein protein?" episode because I learned the importance of this type of protein.

It all starts from cow's milk, where 80% of the proteins is casein and the remaining 20% is whey. This is much higher than human milk where casein is only 20% to 45% according to some studies.

Casein Protein

Have you ever tried casein protein before bed time? No more waking up hungry at night!

Casein Protein Facts

This type of protein is known for its slow digestion, anti-catabolic effect and high amino acid content.

Slow Digestion Protein

Slow digestion means slow release. In fact this protein is released slowly in your body after consumption.

It might take up to 6/7 hours.

This is not always a bad thing because it depends when you take it.

As a pre-workout or post-workout supplement it's not going to give you much benefit. That's when you should take whey protein because your body requires proteins available immediately.

But between meals or before bedtime you don't have to provide immediate nutrients to your body, so casein protein is more indicated before bedtime or between meals.

Anti-Catabolic Effect

Catabolism happens when you don't provide the necessary nutrients to your body after workout to build and rebuild muscle.

Let me ask you this: what is that time of the day when your body is not provided food and proteins for a long time?

The answer is...at night.

If you sleep at least 8 hours, as you should, you are basically fasting for all that time. And for a bodybuilder it can be too much to stay 8 hours without consuming any protein.

Casein come very handy here, because with its slow release we can constantly feed proteins to our body while we sleep.

This avoids us to go into a catabolic state.

Casein and Amino Acids

The great amino acid content in casein protein is one of its best advantages.

Amino acids help the recovery of our body after intense workout and help avoid the catabolic state.

Casein provides a high quantity of BCAA that is essential for the recovery of the muscle tissues.

Conclusion: Whey vs Casein

There is not much to add, I am sure you have figured it out by now.

Whey is a fast release protein that acts immediately while casein is a slow digestion protein. They should be taken at different times.

The best is to take them both at different times during the day to supplement your diet.

Let me just summarize what we just discussed here today:


Pre-workout: Whey

Post-workout: Whey

Between meals: Casein

Before bedtime: Casein


Another thing, do you take them with water or milk?

You can take them both with either water or milk. Whey protein is better with water  after workout because it guarantees faster release.

You can take it with milk between meals because milk slows down the digestion, but at that point between meals you should prefer casein anyway. So...

Water: Whey

Milk: Casein

Talking about prices instead, you will notice that casein is quite cheaper than whey, so that might be an incentive to try it next time!

My Favorite Casein Supplements

I've tried a few different brands and I liked them all. I found that the powder is much thinner than whey protein, but maybe it just depends on the brand.

The flavor is good, especially with milk. Only down side...they made too much "foam" for me..

Anyway, these are the 3 brands that I recommend, all from Amazon, but alternatively you can find them also on VitaminShoppe.com.

The buttons will just take you to the product page on their site...

Casein FX - Chocolate

CASEIN-FX™ has a perfect blend of 100% pure Micellar Casein and Calcium Caseinate to provide an ideal ratio that provides up to 7 HOURS of protein digestion!CASEIN-FX is fortified with an amino acid complex of growth-stimulating Glutamine, Taurine, Glycine and Glutamine Precursors to stimulate growth and speed recovery.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Casein Protein - Triple Chocolate

Powered by 100% Sustained-Release Casein Protein100% of the casein protein component in Professional Strength Casein Protein is high-quality casein, which is a slow-release form of protein and is rich in essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids.

Muscle Pharm Casein - Chocolate Milkshake

In the protein world, casein is a specialized protein that needs to be utilized correctly in order to be effective. As a slow-digesting nutrient, it can work at night while you are asleep. Take before bed, and it nourishes your muscles after you've called it a day.


And YOU...do you prefer casein or whey protein? And when do you take them?

Use the form below to tell us what you think!


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2 Responses

  1. Jason
    Do you take either in the morning? If so, which one and why? I was planning on taking casein because I'm really bad about eating breakfast, but I read somewhere saying that whey is better in the morning because you need protein immediately because you've gone through all your casein.
    • Cristian Cristian
      I'd take casein before bed. In the morning, if you replace breakfast, I'd go with a weight gainer instead. You need calories (carbs etc) not just protein.