You may well have come across the two words in isolation, and you might know a bit about each individually, but add an ‘ate’ or ‘ase’ on the end and the whole meaning could change.
Well in Calcium Caseinate’s case, the combination of ingredients does not alter the desired outcome. Through combining Calcium with Casein, supplement manufacturers end up with the same milk derivative as you’d get from cow’s milk, but in a form that is more readily dispersed in water.
Calcium Caseinate has the same nutritional properties as ordinary Casein protein meaning it breaks down more slowly, releasing its amino acids over the course of about 6-8 hours making it ideal as a late night supplement (Tamime, 2009).
In order to extract the Casein from milk, the manufacturers adjust its pH making it more acidic or neutral; as a result Casein loses its solubility in water and therefore separates allowing for easy isolation and removal.
Why add Calcium?
This is more to do with the chemical structure as opposed to the nutritional value, and it’s all to do with stability. Calcium Caseinate has a longer shelf life than ordinary casein, increases palatability (as casein is notoriously less tasty than its whey protein cousin), and due to its enhanced stability is more readily absorbed from the bowel (Fox and McSweeney, 2003).
So to summarise, Calcium Caseinate does pretty much the same job as Casein does in its whole food form, but when it comes to dietary supplements, a few extra steps need to happen to make it all work as it should.
Tamime, A, Y, (2009). Dairy Powders and Concentrated Products. Society of Dairy Technology. : Wiley-Blackwell.
Fox, P. & McSweeney, P, L, H, (2003). Advanced Dairy Chemistry: Volume 1: Proteins, Parts A&B. 3rd Ed. Cork: Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers.