Casein protein is a counterweight to whey protein. It is the ideal protein to receive a balanced and steady supply of amino acids. As compared to whey protein, it’s a more effective supplement when consumed before going to sleep. It prevents muscle protein breakdown.
Casein also includes branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. Pure casein and pure BCAAs are something bodybuilders, weightlifters, and professional athletes prefer to take before sleep for the slow absorption quality (which also happens to improve other aspects of one’s health, as we’ll see).
Today, we’re going to have a look at the 8 best casein protein supplements.
Editor’s Choice Product: Naked Casein
Naked Casein is a highly effective supplement for people of all ages who do regular workouts. If you’re not working out, then there’s little reason to buy this product.
- It is simply the best casein protein in terms of effectiveness, mixability, and people’s experience with the brand.
- Dymatize Elite is one of the only products that attain the perfect balance between mixability and granular softness or powder consistency.
- Pure, high-quality casein that’s sourced fully from US farms is the secret behind Elite’s unparalleled success.
- Besides post-workout muscle recovery during sleep, the slow release casein absorption also leads to a number of secondary health benefits like improved sleep patterns, higher energy levels, better skin moisture retention, and so on.
As compared to lower quality casein proteins and almost all whey proteins, this product doesn’t come with constipation problems. The product also mixes well with a lot of different things. Naked Casein has uncompromised integrity when it comes to substance purity.
It will also help improve your skin, health, sleep, and aches (those resulting from workouts and gym sessions, primarily).
Naked Casein comes with no added flavors. The unflavored one is almost impossible to drink without a strong mix with chocolate syrup, chocolate milk, mixed fruit juice, or something else.
As a bonus, you also get a list of all amino acids that you’re going to be consuming on the package.
The product contains micellar casein and milk. It helps your body gain calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. Sodium and potassium are also included through other ingredients.
Naked Nutrition works on the theory of “Nothing to hide.” What they mean is that what they say is what you get. The ingredients are pure and their processing of the supplements is always considered one of the very best in the entire US. They also get their raw ingredients from US farms.
There are multiple benefits that you will start to see within a few weeks of usage. The first advantage of using Naked Casein is that your recovery time after workouts will shorten by a great deal. Say no to post-workout aches. Further, the supplement, like many other high-quality casein powders, helps you get better sleep, rejuvenation when waking up, and an overall increase in energy throughout your day.
Dymatize Elite Casein
When it comes to slow absorbing proteins for people who work out — there’s absolutely nothing else that will work better than Dymatize Elite. It doesn’t matter what body type, gender, or age group you have.
The supplement provides a highly controlled, slow, and sustained muscle-building amino acid release. The supplement helps your muscles grow and recover overnight if taken before sleep.
It’s very hard to not cringe when you’re drinking casein. It’s way less tasty than whey protein. That’s why Dymatize offers you four flavors to ease your suffering! These flavors are a cinnamon bun, cookies and cream, rich chocolate, and smooth vanilla.
It contains micellar casein, milk, and soy. Besides that, you have sunflower creamer made of sunflower oil, maltodextrin, micellar casein, soy lecithin, sodium citrate, and tricalcium phosphate. Further, there are natural and artificial flavors added, along with salt, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, sucralose, potassium chloride, and acesulfame potassium.
Dymatize is a top brand when it comes to amino acid supplements for workouts. Many products from Dymatize are award-winning. Dymatize comes in a lot of flavors. No other brand makes so many flavors when it comes to amino acid supplements. Dymatize is a true leader in the free-form amino acid supplementation industry. Simply put, it’s a brand that you can trust when it comes to casein protein.
Dymatize Elite Casein is the best overnight recovery supplement. Further, it also helps troubleshoot and solve many other problems. The best part about the Elite is that it’s for everyone. You will see the benefits of the product even if you don’t work out. Also, if you rarely work out, you will still be getting some minor improvements in your health.
If you’re a serious bodybuilder looking for a reliable means of post-workout recovery, this is surely the product for you.
This is a supplement that includes both, whey protein as well as micellar casein protein (and a bunch of other stuff as well). This is a full package that’s proven to work really well for a lot of people.
The Syntha-6 is not a random name. This product provides a whopping total of six sources of protein for your body and that’s where the name comes from. In total, you’re getting somewhere around 22G protein and that’s massive.
The six sources are micellar casein, whey protein isolate, egg albumin, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, and whey protein concentrate.
The taste is unlike any other whey protein, and especially casein protein supplement, that you have ever tasted. It’s simply great.
You can take this supplement at any time of the day. As it’s not casein-only, there’s no point in taking it only before sleep. In fact, this is a pre-workout, post-workout, dietary, and between meals supplement.
It comes in a lot of different flavors: Vanilla ice cream, chocolate milkshake, strawberry milkshake, peanut butter cookie, banana, chocolate peanut butter, and cookies & cream.
The product contains egg, milk, soy, and wheat. The ingredients include protein matrix (made up of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumen, and glutamine peptides), sunflower creamer (made of sunflower oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, mono- and di-glycerides, dipotassium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, soy lecithin, and tocopherols), polydextrose, cocoa (processed with alkali), natural and artificial flavors, MCT powder (made of medium-chain triglycerides, nonfat dry milk, disodium phosphate, and silicon dioxide), lecithin, salt, cellulose gum, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, papain, and bromelain.
BSN is highly trusted and thanked for their pioneering innovations in the protein supplements industry. Their breakthrough products have always met with positive reviews. BSN can be proud of an ever-inflating consumer base.
This product might sound very complex because it includes six protein sources, but the effects are pretty straightforward. You can consume this supplement as a snack if you wish. And the benefits of all the protein, like better sleep, muscle growth, recovery, protein synthesis, etc. with just one scoop a day — that’s a deal you can’t turn down.
When you need reliable, pure casein in bulk, there’s nowhere else you need to go.
Pure casein, high mixability, good quality, and 100% US-made: that’s BulkSupplements Casein protein powder for you in a nutshell. The cattle are raised in Idaho.
There is no flavoring or additives. This is pure casein and it mixes really well with almost anything from juices to milk and from energy drinks to water (though I don’t recommend water, you won’t be able to finish thanks to the taste).
It mixes so well because the powder is very fine.
Micellar casein and soy lecithin (as an emulsifier) are the only ingredients. Doesn’t include yeast, gluten, and corn.
: BulkSupplements is known for clean and pure supplements that can be purchased in bulk, like in packets of 2.2 lbs, 11 lbs, 44 lbs, etc. There are also 100 grams and 8.8 ounces variations.
BulkSupplements is trusted, reliable, and receives highly positive reviews from buyers across the nation.
BulkSupplements Casein protein powder is moderately effective. It’s intended for long-term usage and it doesn’t provide any significant boost for a few days. Let a week or two pass and you’ll be able to see the improvement in your energy levels, post-workout recovery, and sleeping patterns.
Ascent Native Fuel Casein
Slightly higher calories than what you’d find generally in casein supplementation products, Micellar Casein from Ascent is a highly effective product that will improve your post-workout muscle recovery fairly fast.
It comes in three flavors because we all know how impossible it is to drink pure casein with water, milk, or other light liquids. The three flavors are chocolate, vanilla bean, and chocolate peanut butter.
Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein is known to provide a slow and sustained amino acid release of many important and common amino acids. It’s a reliable supplement for post-workout recovery and health improvement with added side-benefits.
The Micellar Casein supplement from Ascent comes with zero artificial ingredients. It’s exceptionally good for slow digesting some much-needed protein before sleep.
In general, the 2 lbs packet provides 25g protein, 5G BCAA, and 2.7G leucine.
The supplement contains micellar casein, cocoa (processed with alkali), natural flavors, gum blend (made of guar, acacia, and xanthan), sea salt, sunflower lecithin, monk fruit extract, and stevia leaf extract.
The product contains milk.
Ascent Protein is the official performance nutrition partner of USA Weightlifting. That’s a huge accomplishment. They have standards that cannot be compromised, whether it comes to product quality, expending on testing and research, or sourcing only the best raw ingredients.
The brand is a benchmark in protein purity, which is also their tagline.
For most of the people who use the product, the results begin to show in the first or second week itself. If you’re working out quite regularly, then you will feel changes in your post-workout recovery time as well as muscle recovery.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein
Optimum Nutrition (ON) Gold Standard 100% Casein Protein is a high-quality slow-digesting casein protein supplement that is known for using only premium micellar casein as the primary protein source.
It comes in a number of flavors: Banana cream, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate supreme, cookie dough, cookies & cream, creamy vanilla, mint chocolate chip, and strawberry. The possibilities are infinite! The product is highly effective and reliable. It’s mostly meant for professionals on very active workout plans.
Along with anti-catabolic micellar casein, there’s also naturally occurring BCAAs, glutamine, and glutamic acid in each scoop of the product.
The ingredients include micellar casein, natural and artificial flavors, polydextrose, gum blend (made of cellulose gum, xanthan gum, and carrageenan), lecithin, salt, malic acid, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, Aminogen, and FD&C Yellow #5.
The product contains milk and soy.
Optimum Nutrition places itself as a brand bent on giving the best health results to professionals who need them. And with the Gold Standard 100% Casein, they reiterate their promise once more.
A pretty solid workout plan requires many different kinds of supplements. And when it comes to casein for consumption before going to sleep, there are only a few choices better than the Gold Standard 100% Micellar Casein from Optimum Nutrition for many professionals and gym-regulars.
Cellucor COR-Performance Casein
Low sugar, balanced calorie count, slightly improved taste, and quite a manageable aftertaste: that sums up this supplement. The effects take longer to display, however, and the efficiency is not as high as compared to many other products.
The flavor does justice. It’s hard to find chocolate flavored casein supplements that taste this good. Usually, what you get is a chemical-like taste along with the chocolate taste. But for Cellucor’s COR-Performance Casein’s chocolate flavor, that’s not true at all.
It’s easy to mix and tastes slightly better than what a typical casein product would. It’s 100% pure micellar casein.
The supplement includes micellar casein, cocoa, natural and artificial flavors, salt, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, soy lecithin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and silicon dioxide. The product is gluten-free. It contains milk and soy.
Cellucor might not be a hugely popular supplement brand but it has a pretty loyal and solid fan following. Cellucor’s returning customers also maintain that the products are created with them in mind and it’s always a treat to order from them.
The product is moderately effective. Everything said and done, the Corperformance Micellar Casein is a good substitute for your casein supplementation needs when you want a product that’s easy on your body (and taste buds) even if the results are slower.
MuscleTech Platinum Casein
This product utilizes a great and efficient micellar casein formula. Coupled with BCAAs and glutamine, this is almost instantly effective.
The value for money and slightly improved taste, as well as the higher concentration of protein in each scoop, ensures that the product meets the customer’s criteria for a good casein protein supplement. It sure has a grainy consistency but it mixes really well.
It includes micellar casein, natural and artificial flavors, salt, soy lecithin, silicon dioxide, sucralose, gum blend (made with cellulose gum, xanthan gum, and carrageenan), and acesulfame potassium. It contains soy and milk.
MuscleTech is a highly favored brand among professional weightlifters, athletes, and essentially anyone who works out regularly. If you’re a regular gym-goer, then trust me, you can’t go wrong with this product. MuscleTech provides absolutely amazing products and their customer satisfaction benchmarks are really high.
The effectiveness will be visible shortly after you start taking the supplement. MuscleTech claims that people who take the Platinum 100% Casein daily go through a 34% decrease in their muscle breakdown, which means it’s a highly effective recovery supplement for those who do intense workouts.
This supplement also makes sure you feel rejuvenated when you wake up.
How was the ranking done
The ranking was done based on a number of critical criteria. The products that have added flavors and artificial substances aren’t higher up on the list, unless if they provide exceptional results and no side-effects.
Casein is hard to drink. The taste is simply poor. And you’re going to consume it daily. So, I made sure that a lot of products that mix fast, go with a lot of different things, and taste slightly better should be higher up on the list.
Who should buy casein protein?
Casein supplementation is primarily meant for people who do workouts and are regulars gym-goers. The age group, sex, intensity of a workout, type of workout, etc. don’t matter much. You could be doing free strength training or intense weightlifting — it could be any kind of training, actually.
Casein before sleep will improve your recovery no matter what type of training or exercise you do. And at the same time, taking casein before sleep also provides other health benefits. These benefits differ from product to product.
And they also differ widely from person to person and their daily habits. These benefits include better sleep, rejuvenation, higher energy level, moisture retention in the skin, better muscle growth, improved cognition, etc.
Read also: Our Top Whey Protein Powders Picks
How do I pick a good casein protein supplement?
First of all, you have to consider the brand’s reputation. If it’s well-reputed and promises to only use the best quality raw ingredients and locally-sourced casein (it comes from cattle), then it’s the real deal.
After that, check the reviews. Different people might react differently to the supplements and it’s important to know what works for which kind of people and what doesn’t look so good in a product.
See the official website of the product to get additional details. This is very important. Don’t be sold to the reviews. You must cross-check the facts, ingredients, and every other detail for a trouble-free experience. A little bit of research can go a long way towards having an ideal experience with the product.
There are also other considerations that are important. For example, you need the perfect balance between mixability and granular softness. Products like BulkSupplements Casein protein power are very, very finely powdered. The moment you open the package, you risk dusting everything around it. And on the other hand, some products might clump.
The finer the supplement is, the better will it mixes. And the less “dusty” it is, the more chance it has of forming lumps, especially with milk. Dymatize Elite is the best when it comes to this balance.
What is casein? Does it cause any side-effects?
Casein is a product derived from milk. It exhibits many properties that we usually relate to dairy products. It doesn’t have any side-effect on the normal human being.
How is casein made?
A number of byproducts are created during the creation of cheese. Casein is one of them. Concentrated and protein-rich milk is acted upon by specific enzymes to form a combination of curds and whey protein. The curds can be separated and then processed in a plant. Upon drying, you get casein protein powder. The cattle, milk quality, and the processing plant all play an important role in the synthesis of high-quality and pure casein.
What is micellar casein?
Micellar means “an aggregate of molecules in a colloidal solution”. Although micelles are commonly connected with the study of detergents, here it means that the casein molecules have been further processed to form an aggregate. This increases the size of the molecules. What this also does is slow down the absorption of casein, which can cause an insulin spike if absorbed at once. And in either case, slowly-absorbed casein is naturally better than fast-absorbing casein for multiple reasons.
What is better, whey protein or casein protein?
None of them is better than the other. After an intense workout, you need protein and you need it fast. Your muscles have undergone damage and the only thing that you should think about right now is how to increase your body’s recovery rate, and that’s where whey is going to be effective.
But later on, you need slow-release casein protein so that your body can rebuild and repair muscles. When you wake up, you’ll be refreshed and ready for another day at the gym.
Who should avoid casein protein?
Casein on its own doesn’t cause any problems. Any problem that can be caused by dairy products is a problem you can face on casein protein consumption. For example, if you have an allergy to milk or dairy products in general, it’s in your best interest to avoid casein supplements. And at the same time, you should also be avoiding whey protein.
Casein is really good for recovering from workouts (especially when taken before sleep) and building muscle as well. For fast muscle growth, you’re recommended whey protein, no doubt. But that’s not the whole story of building muscles.
You see, any effective bodybuilding plan must have a recovery option that’s based on slow-releasing casein. During sleep, your body goes without food for hours. It can’t build muscles from whey during this time.
Casein is highly acid-reactive. It thickens in your stomach and provides long-lasting amino acids that help your muscles recover more effectively. Because micellar casein releases at a slow pace, the long-lasting effects are stretched further.
In other words, the slower this absorption of casein is, the more effective your overnight recovery will be. Casein has many other benefits as well. Most prominent among these secondary benefits is the improvement in sleep. Although human studies are lacking however people have always voiced similar sentiments with casein supplements. There has been a study on animals, however, that further proves the point.
As a general rule of thumb, you should stop looking for the best casein protein. That simply doesn’t exist. What works for one person might not work for another. It’s basic biology. But that being said, a lot of high-quality and reliable casein supplements have never went wrong with a large portion of people who work out regularly and thus, there’s a very small chance that you’ll not benefit from any one of them.
- Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, Beelen M, Wallis GA, Gijsen AP, Senden JM, VAN Loon LJ. National Institutes of Health. US National Library of Medicine. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. PubMed database. 2012, August. 44(8): 1560-1569. doi: 10.1249/MSS. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. PMID: 22330017.
- Guesdon B, Messaoudi M, Lefranc-Millot C, Fromentin G, Tomé D, Even PC. National Institutes of Health. US National Library of Medicine. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Peptides. 2006, June. 27(6): 1476-1482. A tryptic hydrolysate from bovine milk alphaS1-casein improves sleep in rats subjected to chronic mild stress. PMID: 16303212.