Are you unsure about where protein actually comes from and confused about the difference between WPI, WPC and Casein protein?  Here are the facts.

The protein powder in most sports supplements comes from dairy.  Cow’s milk contains 80% casein and 20% whey.   Some of this is used for the milk and cheese in your fridge at home while the ultimate muscle building components are extracted and used to make high quality casein and whey proteins.

Using the same principle of milk helping babies to grow, milk proteins contain naturally occurring nutrients that help your muscles to grow!

From the farm both casein and whey are dried and purified at varying degrees to extract the fat, carbs and lactose and produce the different forms of protein powders that go into sports supplement products.

Not all proteins are created equal. The form of protein and degree of purification affects the price and absorption rate of protein.  Below is a brief run down on the types of protein used in most popular muscle building supplements.

Whey Protein

Whey Protein is the most popular supplement used for building lean muscle.  It is quickly absorbed by the body and delivers amino acids to the bloodstream faster than other protein sources.   Whey protein is a great choice for post-workout supplementation as it helps to stimulate muscle-protein synthesis which leads to muscle growth.

Whey Protein is also rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and scores high on the biological value (BV) scale, which measures how well a protein is absorbed.

Whey Protein comes in the form of Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) and Whey Protein Isolate (WPI).  The main difference between WPC and WPI is that WPI goes through a much longer and more complicated filtering process.

WPC is ultra-filtered, where the filters are about one micrometer (amazingly small). To make whey protein isolate, you take the ultra-filtrated whey protein concentrate and you filter it again through micro-filtration, where these filters are 4 times smaller than the ultra-filters.

For this reason WPI is the fastest absorbing (about 30mins) and most pure form of whey protein available.  In addition to being fast acting WPI also contains virtually zero fat, carbs and lactose for lean muscle growth without unwanted calories.  For a premium 100% WPI protein supplement try Vitalstrength WPI+.

WPC is absorbed by the body over a slightly longer period of time than WPI (about 2 hours).  Because it travels through less filtration than WPI its lactose content is slightly higher and many of the immune boosting immunoglobulin’s and growth factors found in lactose remain intact.

Blended whey protein supplements (WPI/WPC) like Vitalstrength Whey offer a good mix between quality and price plus the absorption benefits of two different sources of whey protein.

Casein & Calcium Caseinate

Calcium Caseinate comes from the casein in skimmed milk.  Unlike whey, casein is a very slow-digesting protein offering a long and sustained amino acid delivery to the muscles for up to 7 hours.  For this reason Calcium Caseinate or Casein Protein is an ideal pre-bedtime shake option, or for anyone not able to get a supply of protein for an extended period of time.

While whey is considered by many as the ideal post workout shake, consuming a blended protein such as Total+ High Protein that includes Calcium Caseinate has been shown to have significant muscle growth benefits. This is because fast acting whey starts muscle protein synthesis straight after your workout  and Calcium Caseinate prolongs protein absorption long after your workout.

Remember no protein is necessarily “better” than another, each has its benefits depending on your training goals.