Which protein has twice the muscle-building potential after 4 hours
One study examined the metabolism of whey and casein when consumed together. Young, healthy men and women consumed an average of 58 grams of protein (50% whey / 50% casein). Both proteins were “intrinsically labeled,” meaning that after participants consumed the protein drink, the researchers could study the metabolism of the whey and casein separately even though they were consumed together.

The study showed that whey and casein retained their fast- and slow-digestion profiles when consumed together. The slower digestion of casein resulted in more sustained elevations in circulating amino acids. Whereas early on, both whey and casein promoted similar increases in muscle protein synthesis. At four hours after ingestion, the amino acids from casein were being retained in muscle at double the rate as those from whey.

If you’re not consuming whey protein every 3 to 4 hours, consider using a meal replacement that provides a casein-whey combination for its sustained-release effect. Or add a scoop of casein protein to your whey shake. You can also mix your whey shake with a glass of milk to get the benefits of about 6 grams of casein protein from the milk.

Reference: Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab (May 8, 2012), Epub.

Dr. Jeff Volek is a registered dietitian and Full Professor in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. He has published 270 articles examining health and performance effects of low-carbohydrate diets and other dietary supplements including seminal work on creatine, carnitine and whey protein.

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