Ingredient: Calcium Caseinate
Calcium caseinate. Sounds a bit like the casein protein you may be familiar with, but how can you be sure what the differences signify? Let’s take a look at what exactly calcium caseinate is and what it’s used for.
What Is It?
Calcium caseinate is the chemical name for one of the forms of casein protein. This form of casein protein is a powder that is made  via several steps. First, you change the pH of milk (the source of casein protein); this makes the casein protein separate from the water in milk so that it can be isolated.
Next, calcium hydroxide is added and the mixture is processed at specifically alkaline levels to help rebalance the pH. This mixture is then dried into the powder we call calcium caseinate.
What Is Its Biological Role?
Calcium caseinate is primarily used to add additional protein to your diet. Sometimes this shows itself in the form of a pure powder, similar to protein shake mix. More frequently however, it is added to foods. Regardless of source, everybody needs adequate protein to stay healthy.
When we consume protein , the digestive acids in our stomach help break them down into peptide, smaller building blocks of proteins. Then those peptides are broken down into amino acids, the tiniest building blocks of proteins. Once amino acids reach the small intestine, they can then be absorbed by the body to do their various functions. In general, protein helps us move our muscles, build or repair tissues, produce and regulate hormones, and more.
The specific functions can sometimes depend on which amino acids a protein is made of; some protein sources are better for certain things than others based on their amino acid makeup. Calcium caseinate has very high levels of L-glutamine. L-glutamine is an amino acid that is specially geared towards growing your muscles. The presence of L-glutamine in the body signals your muscle fibers to begin the synthesis process that helps to create bigger, stronger muscles.
The protein source also dictates how quickly this happens, because some proteins take longer to breakdown into amino acids than others. Casein protein can take a bit longer to hit your system than other proteins. Once broken down, however, it provides a steady release of amino acids into the body for a longer period of time, which makes it a very stabilizing and long acting protein supplement.
How Does It Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?
As a function of how long it can take to be fully absorbed, casein protein stays in the small intestines a relatively long time. When the small intestine detects the presence of protein it reacts by greatly slowing the rate of gastric emptying.
Gastric emptying  is the release of foods from your stomach into the small intestine to continue the digestive process. Because this keeps food in your stomach for longer it allows you to feel satiated for a longer period of time, keeping you satisfied from smaller meals.
Taken at night, the action of calcium caseinate on muscle growth helps greatly with recovery, allowing you to really get the most out of both your workout and your beauty sleep.
What Foods Contain It?
Calcium caseinate is sold by itself as a protein supplement, and also found in nutritional bars, baked goods, instant soups, coffee creamers, candies, and more. In processed foods it is usually found in small amount because it is being used for its ability to extend shelf life rather than nutritional value.
How Much Of It Do You Need?
There is no officially recommended amount of calcium caseinate to ingest per day, though you can make it part of your overall daily protein intake. Your daily protein requirements depend upon your size and activity level. If consuming calcium caseinate as a supplement in powdered form, it is best to follow the dosing instructions on the labeling.
Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?
The risk that goes along with consuming too much calcium caseinate is the same as consuming too much of any protein. If you consume too much protein at the expense of other macronutrients, you are going to overwhelm your kidneys as they try to process the excess protein wastes. This can lead to kidney damage, along with all the accompanying health complications.
Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?
There is no risk associated with too little calcium caseinate, as long as you ensure that your protein needs are being met elsewhere.
Hopefully this information has shed some light on calcium caseinate for you. Luckily, not every ingredient on the label that sounds complicated, actually is.
Taking the time to read the nutrition labels and ingredients lists of products before you buy is important, but only if you also use accompanying sources of information, such as this post and other more in-depth ones, to understand what you’re putting into your body.
 Jacobs, Jessica. What Is Calcium Caseinate? Livestrong.com, 2015.
 Carson, Tara. Five Stages of Protein Digestion. Livestrong.com, 2015.
 Physiol,J. The Slowing of Gastric Emptying by Proteins in Test Meals. National Library of Medicine, 1978.