Protein Supplementation: Whey vs. Casein - Mind And Muscle

Whey Vs Casein

These two  proteins are both great sources of all the essential amino acids, but they are different in one important aspect—whey is a fast digesting protein and casein is a slow-digesting protein.

Protein Supplementation: Whey vs. Casein

by Carmen Grange


Protein is one of three macro nutrients which are required by the human body for normal

cellular function and growth. Its main task is to establish structure to the cells and tissues

to support everyday activity. Without adequate protein, humans would not be able to

stand, walk, or function at all in any normal capacity. For the athlete, however, protein

goes beyond the sustainability of everyday activity.


Protein ingestion is crucial to the growth, development, and regeneration of skeletal

muscle. Whether you are an athlete seeking larger muscles or one who requires greater

strength, protein plays a major role in obtaining those goals. In an earlier article, I outlined

why protein is so important to the athlete’s diet as well as the most beneficial times to

consume it in order to enhance skeletal muscle protein synthesis and regeneration. This

article’s purpose is not to regurgitate on a topic already discusses, but to delve into the two

most talked about types of protein supplementation, their uses, and the best times to take



1. Whey


  • A protein found in milk, that separates from casein (another protein) as a

result of some coagulant being added to the milk. It is the water-soluble part

of this milk protein blend that is quickly absorbed into the tissues. Whey

protein may be used as a dietary supplement to hit daily protein goals, as

well as a tool to enhance skeletal muscle protein synthesis.


  •  Whey protein is beneficial to the athlete’s diet because it is a readily available

source of protein which will be absorbed by the tissues (i.e. muscle) to

enhance muscle protein synthesis and regeneration to increase muscular

size, power, and/or strength.


  •  Due to its fast-absorbing properties, whey protein is most beneficial before

and after a workout. It does not provide an abundant amount of protein, nor

are the amino acids it generates withstanding; therefore, other protein

consumption after a workout (i.e. fish, chicken, eggs, beef, etc.) are essential

to furthering muscle protein synthesis to enhance skeletal muscle growth

and development.


2. Casein


  • The other of the two proteins found in milk. Just like with whey, adding

some coagulant to milk separates these two proteins so that they may be

extracted as separate entities. Casein is the curd-like protein found in milk.

Unlike whey, casein is a slow-digesting protein, due to its gelatinous-like



  •  Casein takes longer for the cells to absorb, but that delay offers benefits not

found in whey supplementation. As a result of slow digestion, amino acids

(protein) are increased for longer periods of time, causing a reduction in

protein breakdown even after absorption has occurred.


  •  The long-lasting effects of casein make it a great choice for bedtime protein

consumption. Not only will it help to reach daily protein goals, but it will

reduce the effects of protein catabolism while allowing skeletal muscle

protein synthesis as you sleep.


coconut oil


Neither of these proteins is more superior to the other; however, the time of day consumed

can make all the difference or none at all. Both of these milk proteins offer great benefits

to the enhance muscle protein synthesis and regeneration when used properly, and they

provide even greater effects when coupled with one’s diet. Supplementing with both whey

and casein protein sources has been shown to greatly increase muscle anabolic properties,

increase muscle lean mass, increase muscle strength, decrease fat mass, and increase

anabolic hormones.


All humans need protein to sustain life, but increasing the daily protein need to further

support protein synthesis will enhance size and strength of skeletal muscle. If the goal is to

become better, stronger, faster, at any one specific athletic task, supplementing with both

whey and casein products will be most beneficial, in addition to proper intake of all


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