What is slow release protein?
Whereas whey is the fastest and most bio-available type of protein, it might not always necessarily the best choice of protein.
There are different time blcks or scenrerios when your body can better utilise different protein sources. Post-workout whey is the protein of choice simply because it is the quickest and most bio-available of all protein sources. That said, we're not suggesting that whey shouldn't be taken throughout the rest of the day - quite the opposite. Unless you're following a strict diet, in our experience, whey is best supplemented with other protein types. Ideally this should be food to offer diversity, but if that's not convenient we always favour a mixed blended protein.
Milk protein concentrate (MPC), milk protein isolate (MPI) miscellar casein, calcium caseinates, pea and hemp are all slower digesting protein sources. Whereas whey proteins break down and get absorbed quickly, these slower digesting proteins can take up to 7 hours and they offer a tapered "drip feed" release of amino acids. This helps your body remain in a elevated anabolic state This is especially important throughout the night, as your body's metabolism decreases and enters a catabolic state.
Another added benefit with these slower proteins is that they help to keep you feeling fuller longer. While that might not be an issue when you're counting sheep, supplementing a slow digesting protein early in the day is one way to keep your metabolism ticking over and your muscles fuelled.
We like slower digesting protein shakes. Before bed, we'll often opt for a micellar casein shake. Throughout the day a good strategy to make your whey go further is to supplement it with a milk concentrate, a pea or rice protein. They're cheaper sources of protein so it offers a tripple whammy beneft. You can also benefit from the diversified source and the slower absorption rate.
Most mixed protein blends contain a slow release protein source.
Would a slow release protein suit me?
Slow release proteins aren't for everyone. If you go to the gym once or twice a week to maintain good general health we would recommend sticking to a whey or a mixed blend. Slower digesting proteins are fewer and far between, so with whey being more popular and readily available retailers are more competitive on price. Whey is also more bio-available, hence it's arguably a better singular protein source. Slower proteins are really suited to endurance athletes and bodybuilders who are more demanding of their bodies over a sustained or more frequent period. We know marathon runners and ironman competitors that supplement with slow release proteins in the evenings after events.
The bottom line
If you're dedicated to your sport, if it's physically demanding and you take part more than once or twice a week, a standalone slow release protein could be a good option for you.
If you're still not sure, you can find a supplement that will suit your goals with our protein finder.