Casein is the chief protein found in dairy products. While you may recognize casein from the supplement aisle, it is also used in cheese and infant formula.
Here’s an overview of casein, including the potential risks and benefits of adding it to your meal plan.
What Is Casein?
Casein is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids required by our bodies to function. In its purest form, casein is a white-colored solid with no taste. All mammals produce casein as a component in milk for their offspring.
Human breast milk consists of 40% casein and 60% whey, while cow’s milk protein is 80% casein and 20% whey. Since casein binds to calcium and phosphorus, milk is a good source of these vital minerals.
How Casein Works
As a protein supplement, casein supplies our muscles with the full range of amino acids required for exercise recovery and strength building. After a challenging workout, our bodies repair the small tears created in our muscle fibers to build them back to become bigger and stronger.
Proper sleep and adequate protein intake are critical for muscle recovery. Casein products work by providing an extra boost of protein to support muscle tissue.
In its isolated form, casein is used as a primary component in cheese-making and as a protein supplement. Bodybuilders may ingest casein products immediately after a workout or before going to bed to promote exercise recovery. Casein is also used to create infant formulas as a substitute for breast milk.