Today’s market is saturated with different types of protein powders. You can find soy, pea, hemp, rice, egg, casein, and whey protein powders, as well as a variety of gluten and vegan free options.
Unique, AKA vegan, options aside, the two best types of protein are Whey and Casein protein. This article will take a look at the 5 best Casein protein powders on the market.
For the ones who are interested in learning more about Whey and Casein protein, I will cover this part later on.
Let’s get started.
#1 Best Casein Protein - Apollon 50/50 Formula X Protein
The best option for Casein protein powder is the $45 Apollon 50/50 Formula X Protein, which actually contains a combination of casein and whey proteins.
This powder is unique in that its formula offers an even combination of the two main types of protein, which allows you to benefit the most.
The Whey isolate which is included in the formula allows for faster absorption and more powerful muscle gains, while the Micellar Casein allows for a slower release of amino acids, and better muscle recovery.
Because this powder contains both Whey and Casein, it can be consumed throughout the day, before a workout, or after a workout; the effects, because of the Casein, will be constant, with your muscles being fed with an endless supply of essential amino acids that allow for protein synthesis.
The types of protein used in this product are also designed to be as pure as possible. Whey protein, for example, comes in three types, hydrolysate, concentrate, and isolate.
The Whey isolate, which is the type Apollon Nutrition chose to include in their powder, is the purest of the three types. That is because all the fat and lactose are processed out of the protein, leaving behind a Whey ‘isolate’, which contains 90% protein, where the other two options contain somewhere between 30% and 90%.
Out of the three types, Whey isolate is digested more easily than the others, which speeds up the time it takes for your body to absorb it.
Additionally, the type of Casein protein used (Micellar Casein) is the most highly recommended type, out of options that include milk protein supplements, calcium caseinate, and micellar casein.
The reason for micellar casein being the most highly graded out of the different options is that it has properties that allow for the formation of a protein ‘clot’ in your stomach, which in turn allows for the slow and consistent release of amino acids directly into the small intestine and the blood stream.
The existence of this clot also slows the rate of gastric emptying, which is the time it takes for food to empty from your stomach and enter your small intestine. The slower rate of gastric emptying increases the rate amino acids are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Apollon is using the best ingredients to make a product that is a unique, rarely seen combination of both types of milk protein, which provides the best overall influx of protein into your system, resulting in greater muscle growth and fat loss, all at a highly accelerated rate.
#2 Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Micellar Casein protein powder, the winner of Bodybuilding.com’s best casein protein powder in both 2013 and 2015, which also boasts a 4.3 star rating on Amazon and has nearly 3,000 customer reviews, gets second place.
The only reason I would not consider the Gold Standard to be the best overall Casein protein powder, is that Apollon, with their unique 50/50 blend, demonstrates the best use of Casein protein powder, in an ingenuitive way that gives it an edge over the Gold Standard.
That aside, Optimum Nutrition is making a solid and consistent Casein protein powder. It comes in a large variety of flavors, including Banana Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Supreme, Cookie Dough, Cookies N Cream, Creamy Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Strawberry Cream.
Each serving, which is low in fat and sugar, contains 25 grams of protein and 5 grams of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), which, as I mentioned earlier, are essential for muscle growth.
It is best consumed before bed if possible, as the protein clump that forms in your stomach can then release amino acids into your bloodstream throughout the night.
If you can’t take it at night, you can also take some between meals during the day, and will experience similar results.
That soreness that some athletes experience after a different (and difficult) workout that can sometimes last for days gets entirely eliminated by this product, which also increases energy and metabolic levels.
The Gold Standard has a 30-year career in consistency, and their 100% Micellar Casein powder is easily the best solely-casein option, allowing for consistent muscle recovery and longer, better, harder-hitting workouts.
And Optimum Nutrition’s inclusion of BCAAs in their formula makes the product even more powerful, eliminating the biggest weakness of Casein protein by providing a decent level of leucine.
And, it’s only $32 for a 2 pound container.
#3 Kaged Muscle Premium Kasein Powder
From triathlete, author, and celebrity transformer Kris Gethen, comes the Kaged premium protein powder, which has a 4.2 star rating on Amazon and almost 100 customer reviews.
A 4 pound container costs about $60, and comes in two flavors; chocolate shake, and vanilla shake.
Each serving contains 2.5 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of ‘ultra-premium, cold-pressed’ micellar casein protein.
Kris added something a little unconventional, in the form of a small serving of coconut oil, which is designed to slow the breakdown of Casein, making those protein clots last even longer.
The powder is manufactured using a specially designed microfiltration system that keeps the integrity of the protein structures sound and complete throughout the process, which ensures that the protein you are consuming, is the exact same protein that you get from a glass of milk.
Additionally, each serving contains over 10 grams of essential and non-essential amino acids, which allows your cells to synthesize protein around the clock.
Through the filtration process in the making of this powder, most of the lactose is removed, which makes Kasein much more readily digestible than many other options.
This product also contains no artificial colors or flavors, and has been scientifically examined by a third party to ensure that the formula is sound and will result in the best muscle growth and regeneration.
This powder mixes well, creating a creamy, delicious protein shake whose effects are almost immediately noticeable, reducing muscle soreness and allowing you to work out more, harder, and longer.
#4 NutriBio 100% Micellar Casein
NutriBio’s Casein protein powder, which comes in only one flavor (Dutch Chocolate – the best flavor, if you ask me), and has a 3.8 star rating on Amazon, and at only $40 for a 2 pound container, takes 4th place.
Similar to the Kaged Kasein powder, this powder contains over 10 grams of essential amino acids, 25 grams of Casein protein, and at least 5 grams of BCAAs per serving.
The Micellar Casein used in this powder is high grade – cold-pressed and non-denatured. It is also non-GMO, soy-free, low-carb, calorie, fat, and cholesterol, and also contains no added sugar.
Also similar to the Kaged Kasein powder, NutriBio’s powder is third party tested to ensure that it meets quality standards, and also, like most powders, contains a fully-transparent nutrition label.
The reason NutriBio is only ranked fourth is that, while it does what it is supposed to do, and does it well – allows for the consumption of slow-digestive protein that will feed your cells with essential amino acids post-workout and during sleep – it doesn’t have anything particularly special about it.
Apollon’s protein powder is unique and all-inclusive, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard has had an award-winning career as one of the best Casein protein powders ever and Kaged’s Kasein protein includes coconut oil, which allows for the Casein to sit in your stomach for a more extended period of time.
This protein is much simpler, but, nonetheless, is a good, less expensive option, that does deliver high levels of Casein protein disguised in the deliciously creamy Dutch chocolate flavoring.
#5 Dymatize Nutrition: Elite Casein Protein Powder
With a 4.7 star rating on Amazon, Dymatize Nutrition’s Elite Casein powder takes last place; it’s not as amazing as some of the other options on this list, but it does still beg mentioning, as a high-quality product that will get results.
A 2 pound container costs $30 and comes in two classic flavors; Rich Chocolate and Smooth Vanilla. One serving contains 25 grams of protein, 5 grams of BCAAs, and an additional 2.4 grams of Leucine.
An interesting thing about this powder is that, not only does it contain 5 grams of BCAAs, which are an instrumental addition to any protein powder, it also contains a supplementary serving of Leucine, which is one of the three BCAAs that is the most imperative to muscle growth and regeneration.
A big drawback to this powder is that it does contain Sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener that may not necessarily be bad for you, but is also not good – it’s preferable to be using a powder that doesn’t contain Sucralose.
It mixes well and it has a decent flavor, which is always a plus. But, similar to NutrioBio’s Protein Powder, there’s nothing special about it. It is a simple and straightforward Casein protein powder.
The reason it is ranked lower than NutriBio’s powder is the addition of Sucralose, but it does still make the top 5 list, as it is a high quality, inexpensive option, that will supply your muscles with an ample amount of amino acids and BCAAs, resulting in faster muscle recovery and growth.
So here it is, out of all the excessive options and brands of Casein protein powder, I’ve found what I believe to be the best. We’ve got a mix of the unique and the traditional, and between these five solid options, you should be able to find a Casein protein powder that is to your liking.
Casein and Whey Protein Compared
Both of these options are found in milk, with Whey making up 20% of milk protein, and Casein making up 80% of milk protein. The big difference between these two types of milk proteins are that Whey is a quick-digesting protein, while Casein is a slow-digesting protein.
Because Casein protein is digested so slowly, its muscle regeneration and recovery properties are highly regarded; like Whey protein, Casein contains all essential amino acids, but unlike Whey protein, Casein protein releases these amino acids slowly into your system.
For this reason, Casein protein can be taken at night, to aid muscle recovery during sleep.
So, while Whey protein is technically regarded as a protein that is better suited for muscle building because of its quick absorption, Casein protein provides a more gradual but consistent supply of amino acids to your cells, allowing them to synthesize protein which reduces muscle degradation.
This allows, over a longer period of time, increased levels of muscle gained and fat lost, giving Casein protein a slight edge over the more traditional Whey protein.
The area where Whey protein has something of an edge is in quantities of the amino acids it contains. Both Casein and Whey protein contain all essential amino acids, but Whey has a stronger concentration of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) like leucine and valine than Casein.
And while all the essential amino acids are imperative for muscle growth, leucine actually kickstarts that process, speeding up the process by which your cells synthesize protein, especially when taken during a workout.
Whey protein also contains a relatively large amount of active antimicrobial proteins called immunoglobulins, which help strengthen your immune system, and are known to have antioxidative and cancer-fighting effects.
Similarly, consuming Casein protein may be linked to a few other health benefits, including a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure, reduction in triglyceride levels, reduction of free radicals, and overall fat loss.
Additionally to this, the risk associated with Casein consumption are virtually non-existent. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is protein is a derivation of milk.
Anyone with a lactose sensitivity or intolerance may experience, at the least, extreme discomfort, if they use Casein protein, which is why vegan protein options exist.
Although it is important to note that some Casein protein options are so highly purified that the lactose content is completely removed, making it potentially safe for any lactose-intolerants. But I would definitely advise caution.
- Best Tasting Protein Powders – link to article
- Sugar Free Protein Powders – link to article
- Hemp Protein Powders – link to article
- Best Lactose Free Protein Powders – link to article
- Protein Powders for Pregnancy – link to article
- Egg White Protein Powders – link to article
- Best Gluten Free Protein Powders – link to article
Products that I’ve used and reviewed:
- Six Stars Protein Review – link to article
- Ghost Protein Review – link to article
- Kirkland Protein Bars Review – link to article
- Premier Protein Shake Review – link to article
- Ascent Protein Review – link to article
- Equate Whey Protein Review – link to article
- Olly Protein Powder Review – link to article
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
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