Catabolism is the body’s attempt to reduce muscle mass by converting protein into energy. Usually the body goes into a catabolic state after intense training sessions or weight training and this lasts for hours. The activity is mainly caused by the hormone cortisol.
Ideally, the body should burn calories and convert fat, not muscle mass, into energy. Thus, catabolism prevents muscle building but also hinders optimal fat burning. In other words, it can lead to the exact opposite of the results you hoped to achieve through your training. This is why stopping catabolism has become a constant challenge for many bodybuilders and those who exercise regularly.
Many experts suggest that consuming more protein-rich foods or beverages after exercising can help stop catabolism, but some studies have shown that there are specific types of protein that are more effective in preventing catabolism.
Casein protein, also called slow digesting protein, is the most abundant specific form of protein in milk. It is especially rich in glutamine, an amino acid that helps preserve muscle mass. Studies show that casein protein can suppress the body’s catabolism by 34%.
So if you want to stop catabolism, eat protein after your workouts and make sure your protein-rich food or drink specifically contains casein protein. This is sometimes listed as casein monohydrate or calcium casein.
Casein protein is often compared to whey protein. Whey protein is a type of protein that builds muscles faster and more efficiently. However, it does not have the ability to stop catabolism as casein monohydrate does.
Not only does casein protein stop catabolism almost instantly after you consume it, it will continue to do so for hours. As mentioned above, it is a slow digesting protein and this is because it expands in the stomach, giving the muscles a slow and steady flow of protein that fights catabolism. This is useful in many situations, especially between meals and before bed.
Taking casein protein before bed will keep your muscles anabolic throughout the night. Asking your body to sleep 7 hours or more is basically begging it to go catabolic, and the only way to combat it is by consuming casein. If you do, your body will keep feeding on food and fat stores throughout the night, as well as using that protein to rebuild your muscles. Considering that your body is naturally in the best state of muscle development when you sleep, why ruin this by starving your system?
Lastly, using casein protein between meals or as a meal replacement can be a great idea. The fact that it expands in your stomach not only gives your muscles a slow trickle of amino acids, it makes you feel fuller for longer. Because of this, you will be less likely to overeat, helping you to eat a healthy diet.