Calcium caseinate is a protein derived from the casein in milk. The food industry commonly uses calcium caseinate in powders that require a rapid dispersion in water, such as instant cream soups and coffee creamers. As a dietary supplement, bodybuilders use calcium caseinate because this type of protein breaks down more slowly than whey protein, providing a sustained release of amino acids. As with any health supplement, talk to your doctor before using calcium caseinate.
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Casein is the name given to a larger group of proteins known as phosphoproteins. You can find phosphoproteins in mammalian milk. According to "An A-Z Guide to Food Additives: Never Eat What You Can't Pronounce," phosphoproteins represent as much as 80 percent of the proteins in cows' milk and 60 percent of the proteins in human milk. Casein has high nutritional value made up of essential amino acids, carbohydrates, calcium and phosphorus. Some people have a life-threatening allergic reaction to casein. An allergy to this protein is not the same thing as lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar, not a protein.
Production of Calcium Caseinate
Manufacturers produce calcium caseinate by changing the pH of milk to neutral or acid. In this state, casein becomes insoluble in water; this allows manufacturers to isolate it from the other proteins in milk. After this separation, manufacturers combine casein with calcium hydroxide at high alkaline levels and dry the protein.
Calcium Caseinate in Food
In addition to its ability to mix with water, calcium caseinate also is a very stable substance. As a food supplement, manufacturers use calcium caseinate to enrich products with organic amino acids, increase the shelf life, improve nutritional content and enhance taste and smell. The bakery, meat and confectioner industries commonly use calcium caseinate in finished food products. Additionally, manufacturers use calcium caseinate in production of health supplements, drinks and dietetic products.
Calcium Caseinate as a Dietary Supplement
According to the book "Diets Designed for Athletes," as dietary supplement, calcium caseinate can slow digestion. This can help athletes and bodybuilders prevent catabolism, the breakdown of muscle proteins. Additionally, calcium caseinate contributes to a feeling of satiety or fullness. Further, this protein has a high content of L-glutamine, an amino acid essential to muscle building. Other than possible allergic reactions, there are no known side effects associated with use of calcium caseinate.