Popular supplemental powder forms of protein

The two most popular supplemental powder forms of protein, whey and casein, are both milk proteins, but is one better or worse than the other? Well, frankly, they both have some merit and application in many instances, especially when we are concerned about performance and physique enhancement.

Given this, we will take a look at what the pros and cons are to both whey and casein protein powders, what the research shows about each, which instances are best suited to each, and who should consider using them.


Whey and casein: Difference in digestive rates

Most people generally refer to whey and casein proteins as the “fast” and “slow” digesting proteins, respectively.

When we talk about the slow digestion rate of casein, we are essentially saying that it will raise blood amino acid levels slowly and for an extended period of time versus whey protein, which does the inverse. Therefore, many people find that ingesting a whey proteinpromptly after exercise is best since it provides an acute, intense elevation of blood amino acids and thus muscle protein synthesis.

Casein, on the other hand, is generally reserved for periods of time when people know they won’t be able to eat for a lengthy period of time and need a protein that is slowly releasing amino acids into the blood stream.

That being said, studies seem to suggest that mixing protein sources may provide advantage over relying on one, single source repeatedly. The delayed gastric emptying rate of casein and high leucine content of whey can provide a sustained elevation of protein synthesis for several hours after ingestion, an effect not observed with solely whey protein ingestion since it is digested rather rapidly. [2] This is why dairy milk is a popular beverage of choice for many individuals who are looking for whey and casein proteins.

While the digestion rates do differ between whey and casein, there are several other factors to consider when it comes to these proteins.