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The most abundant protein in milk. It is relatively insoluble and tends to form structures called micelles that increase solubility in water. During the processing of milk, which usually involves heat or acid, the casein peptides and micelle structure become disturbed or denatured to form simpler structures. As a result, a gelatinous material is formed. This is the basis for why casein has a slower rate of digestion, and results in a slow but steady release of amino acids into circulation. The net protein balance remained more positive after intake of casein over a 7-hour period. The superior long-lasting effect of casein was attributed to a delayed gastric emptying and slower absorption rate from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood.