You basically can’t grow muscle without taking whey protein after workouts but that doesn’t mean that whey can’t be better. Slow-digesting casein protein was once believed to have no place around workout time, but newer research suggests otherwise. In fact, a study from Baylor University (Waco, Texas) reported that men who consumed a whey/casein blend protein shake after workouts for 10 weeks gained significantly more muscle mass than the subjects who consumed a whey protein shake without casein.Try using a protein Like Intek Evolution or Pro Complete 40 both of which combine whey and casein in an ideal blend.
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The importance of leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids, continues to emerge.
Researchers from the University of Illinois examined the impact of meals containing different amounts of leucine on the time course and magnitude of muscle protein synthesis. In the first set of experiments, it was shown that ingestion of a meal containing 20% of whey protein resulted in peak blood leucine levels after 45 minutes, and they stayed elevated for 180 minutes after ingestion. Leucine levels in the blood were correlated with the activation of key elements in muscle that stimulate protein synthesis. When leucine was highest, muscle protein synthesis peaked, and when leucine dropped to normal levels, protein synthesis decreased.
In a second series of experiments, whey protein was compared to wheat protein at varying levels of total protein intake. Regardless of background protein intake, whey protein resulted in greater increases in blood leucine and greater increases in muscle protein synthesis.
The bottom line from these experiments is that blood levels of leucine is a key factor in turning on protein synthesis. Choose a protein like Intek Evolution that is a high-quality source of leucine to efficiently elevate blood levels of leucine and muscle protein synthesis.
Proteins provide the body critical amino acids that serve as building blocks for the formation of new muscle. But not all dietary proteins are equal. The major proteins in milk are casein and whey. These two milk proteins are both excellent sources of all the essential amino acids, but they differ in one important aspect-whey is a fast-digesting protein and casein is a slow-digesting protein.
Whey stimulates protein synthesis
Fast-digesting whey means it is emptied from the stomach quickly, resulting in a rapid and large increase in plasma amino acids. This translates into a quick but transient increase in protein synthesis, while protein breakdown is not affected. Whey also has higher levels of leucine, a potent amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis. Whey protein is superior at augmenting protein synthesis rapidly, but this positive effect is short-lived. Consuming repeated doses of whey allows for sustained high levels of blood amino acids and repeated bursts of protein synthesis that provide superior effects on muscle protein balance.
Casein offers a positive protein balance
Casein is the most abundant protein in milk. It is relatively insoluble and tends to form structures called micelles that increase solubility in water. During the processing of milk, which usually involves heat or acid, the casein peptides and micelle structure become disturbed or denatured to form simpler structures. As a result, a gelatinous material is formed. This is the basis for why casein has a slower rate of digestion, and results in a slow but steady release of amino acids into circulation.
In one study, researchers gave healthy subjects 30 grams of either whey protein or casein protein and made several measures of the anabolic and catabolic effect for 7 hours after the meal. Whey protein resulted in a rapid increase in blood amino acids and protein synthesis, but it was short-lived. Casein, on the other hand, resulted in a prolonged increase in blood amino acids that resulted in a 34% reduction in protein breakdown. The net protein balance remained more positive after intake of casein protein over a 7-hour period. The superior long-lasting effect of casein was attributed to a delayed gastric emptying and slower absorption rate from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood.
Whey and casein are better together
Since whey rapidly increases protein synthesis and casein blocks protein breakdown, a combination of both would be ideal.
A recent study compared the effects of supplementing with either a combination whey and casein protein versus carbohydrate on several markers of muscle anabolism during strength training. Untrained men participated in a 10-week resistance training program and either supplemented with 40 grams of carbohydrate or 40 grams of protein containing a mixture of whey and casein. Half of the supplements were consumed one hour before and then immediately after exercise on workout days. The results were overwhelmingly positive for the combination protein group. Despite similar background diets and identical training programs, supplementation with protein resulted in greater increases in several measures of muscle anabolism, including greater increases in lean muscle mass, thigh muscle mass, muscle strength, anabolic hormones and muscle specific proteins.
In a similar study that lasted 14 weeks, untrained men performed resistance training and received either 25 grams of carbohydrate or 25 grams of a combination whey and casein protein one hour before and immediately after exercise. The combination protein group had significantly greater increases in muscle fiber size compared to the carbohydrate group. These studies provide strong evidence that a combination protein consumed before and after workouts increases muscle size.