Should I Take Whey or Casein Proteins?

Author: Nicole Adler   Date Posted: 15 September 2016 

To get the muscle gains you want, it is essential to understand how various proteins work and what they can do for your body. However, trying to decide which type of protein you should take is never an easy feat, because the battle between whey and casein proteins is a never-ending one. To find out which protein you should take, please read our recommendations regarding whey and casein proteins below!

What Is the Main Difference Between Whey and Casein Proteins?

The biggest difference between whey and casein proteins is their rate of digestion. Whey protein is known to digest and absorb quickly, which is useful when you need a quick boost of protein after your training.

Compared to whey protein, casein is a lot slower to absorb and digest; this is not necessarily a disadvantage, because the slow absorption rate of casein protein could be useful for those with a faster metabolism.

So how do you choose between whey and casein? The short answer is, you don’t! Fact of the matter is, casein and whey protein work the best when they are combined, of course, not at the same time. To understand why a combination of the two is advised, we need to look at little closer at each protein.

How Could Whey Benefit Me?

Whey is a product that is obtained during cheese production, because whey is actually a by-product that is formed when cheese is made. However, when obtained as a by-product, whey contains less than 1% of protein. In order to increase that amount, supplement manufacturers will dry and concentrate the original whey substance, creating a perfect whey supplement for those who need high levels of protein quick.

One of the biggest advantages of whey is the speedy rate in which it metabolises; this includes the time needed for the supplement to be digested, absorbed by the blood and then taken by body tissues such as muscle. Since muscle growth depends on a good balance of protein synthesis and protein breakdown, the fast metabolization of whey protein is a big plus for many. Within 20 to 40 minutes after taking your supplement, amino acids in the blood will have reached their peak. Because of this, various metabolic processes are able to be completed within the hour.

How Could Casein Benefit Me?

Compared to whey, casein is a slow protein. It takes approximately 3 to 4 hours for the amino acids in the blood to reach their peak, which leads to a slower protein synthesis. However, this slower metabolization rate is not necessarily a bad thing for athletes, because it can be used to create that perfect balance of protein synthesis and muscle breakdown. To understand how you can do this, read the recommend protein supplementation below.

Can’t I Just Take Them Both at the Same Time?

No, because casein protein may actually influence the absorption rate of whey protein. Casein protein will coagulate in the stomach, subsequently causing other proteins you have taken to digest and absorb a lot slower. Therefore, you would not be able to benefit from a combination of both at the same time.

To get the most benefit out of supplements, it is also not wise to supply your body with huge amounts of amino acids all day long, since it will not lead to an increase in muscle mass. Remember, to take advantage of muscle growth, you need a balance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown.

Recommended Protein Supplementation

Instead of just adding as much protein supplements as you can to your diet, there are more effective ways to get your protein in and gain the necessary muscle mass. In order to get that sweet balance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown, you will need to take your casein and whey at specific times.

Before you start with your supplements, realise that you do not need to look for supplements that are packed with amino acids, because whey and casein are the only supplements you really need to get the perfect balance of protein synthesis and breakdown over the course of a day.

The best time of day to take your whey supplement is shortly after your meal. When you take whey protein after a meal, you create an environment inside your body that is perfect for muscle growth. Using the whey protein will suppress the breakdown of muscle, but also provide a steady stream of amino acids for muscle repair and growth.

When using whey protein after your meal, it could be a good idea to ensure your meal has enough carbohydrates. By consuming enough carbs, the body will start to release insulin. As you may know already, the release of insulin slows the rate in which muscle breaks down. In other words, the combination of a carbohydrate-rich meal and whey protein can certainly prevent the loss of muscle over a long period of time if maintained on a daily basis.

Once you have used your whey protein supplement, you need to wait for two hours until you use your casein supplement. Ideally, you want to take your casein supplement within three hours after your meal and whey protein supplement. The reason why you wait is that you want to allow the levels of amino acids in the body to drop before you take another supplement, otherwise using the supplement would be quite pointless. When you have waited a couple of hours, you can give your body a dramatic increase of amino acids again, and enjoy the benefits that accompany this increase.

Conclusion: Whey & Casein for Optimal Results

At the end of the day, both whey and casein are extremely effective for muscle growth. If you keep your routine adjusted to a sustained balance of protein synthesis and protein breakdown, you will get much better results than taking your supplements at random. Of course, it is also needed to look at your diet as well, because making sure you have the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and good fats in your diet is important too.

Data based on vanilla flavour ND Total Whey WPC ND Mass Muscle WPI Calcium Caseinate
Protein per serve (g) 22.2 23 26.2 26.7 28.1
Take For
Type of protein/s Whey Whey Whey & Casein Whey Casein
Carbs per serve (g) 3.4 4.2 26.5 1.9 0.8
Fat total per serve (g) 1.3 1.3 1.6 0.6 0.2
Sugars per serve (g) 3.2 3.2 10.4 1.4 0.3
Serving Size (g) 35 30 60 30 30
Serves per kilo 28 33 16 33 33
Additional Premium Ingredients Amino blend, colostrum, creatine, glutamine   Amino blend, carb blend,colostrum, creatine    
Notes Complete muscle-building formula The least processed budget powder Ultimate Post workout bulking powder Fast absorbing powder Slow release high density powder
Flavours Chocolate Vanilla Chocolate, Vanilla, Honeycomb, Strawberry, Banana, Natural Chocolate Vanilla Chocolate, Vanilla, Honeycomb, Strawberry, Banana, Natural Chocolate, Vanilla, Natural

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