Many bodybuilders take casein protein supplement before working out. This supplement supposedly helps build and retain muscle. “Casein” comes from the Latin name for cheese. It refers to a group of Phosphoproteins that occur in milk. In fact, 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk are a form of casein. Casein supplies essential amino acids, and does so slowly due to its tendency to coagulate when exposed to acid and certain enzymes. It has become a popular protein supplement with body builders and athletes because of this slow release. Casein supplies Calcium and Phosphorous in addition to peptide chains.
What is Casein
Cheese is made primarily from milk fat and casein. The casein is induced to coagulate using enzymes. The coagulating casein squeezes out the water around it, and forms a mass of curds. These are then packed further into blocks and eaten soon, or allowed to age and mold under controlled conditions. Because cheese is high in saturated fat, it is not a good dietary source for body builders or athletes.
Casein, itself, promotes nitrogen retention and usage in the body. It can help sustain muscular action for hours by slowly releasing its peptides in the stomach from its tight, coagulated grip. This can also create an upset stomach as it tends to slow down digestion. When mixed with volatile foods such as a fruit juices or carbohydrates, casein can lead to fermentation due to the warm, bacteria rich environment of the GI tract. This leads to gas, bad breath, and a hangover feeling. A high protein intake also results in more work by the kidneys to eliminate the many extra waste products made during protein metabolism. It is important that those taking protein supplements also eat a diet very high in water and detoxifying foods to help compensate this problem.
Casein protein is similar to gluten protein. Neither would occur in a pre-farming human diet, and so many humans (and it is even argued, all) have trouble digesting the protein past young childhood. Human breast milk only contains half of the casein of cow’s milk at 20-45%. Breast milk is adapted for children. Both the gluten in wheat and the casein in milk tend to cause negative reactions along the intestinal tract. For those individuals who are particularly sensitive to gluten, it can cause severe problems and even death. Generally, these individuals also need to limit or eliminate their intake of casein.
What to watch for when taking Casein
Casein has also been implicated, along with gluten, as a trigger of Autism symptoms, and may even be a contributor in the formation of the disorder. This is a highly controversial area of research, with almost no unbiased studies performed (without an evident agenda against the dairy industry, or financial ties to the dairy industry). However, it is commonly held by parents with Autistic children that eliminating casein (as well as gluten) noticeably improves the social awkwardness of their children.
It is likely that the digestion of the casein impairs in the uptake of other essential nutrients that impact the functioning of the brain, especially the part of the brain that deals with interpreting human bonding, body language, and other non-verbal clues. So body-builders who have Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or general anti-social tendencies should consider turning to other protein strategies, such as a high fish diet.
I enjoy reading about improving my physique and write about muscle building, shredding fat and supplements that give you that little edge over your competitors.
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