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To pick the best casein protein powder it’s important to understand what this supplement is, what it does, and who it’s recommended for. Assuming that you already know all that, the choice isn’t necessarily easier to make.
The world of dietary and workout supplements is flooded with hundreds of brands and thousands of products. Some are completely different and some annoyingly similar in nutritional values and formulas. So how can you pick the best casein protein powder for you?
This article contains top five casein supplements for 2023. Any one will go a long way towards helping you stay healthy and/or sculpt you a new body. Check out the following powder reviews as well as our guide on how to pick the best option for you.
Quick Look at Our Picks
If you’re only looking for a recap or a very specific type of casein protein supplement, then perhaps this short list may help you pick out the right supplement faster.
|Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Editor's Choice: Muscle Pharm Combat 100% Casein Supplement||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Unflavored: Naked Nutrition Naked Casein Protein Powder||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Sodium-Rich: Dymatize Elite||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Best Tasting: Kaged Muscle Kasein Chocolate Shake||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein
If you’re looking to stock up on large quantities of some of the best casein protein powder, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard line is certainly among your top choices. You can get this in 2-lb. and 4-lb. containers and in a variety of flavors too.
One serving of 1.2oz has just 120 calories and it’s 50% mostly calcium. This will help strengthen your bones and it will also support muscle recovery and rebuilding. A must-have for any body builder. But, of course, you don’t have to be a pro to use this supplement.
Everyday gym rats are welcome to reap the benefits of casein protein powder for a boost of energy. And, since this formula can provide up to 60% of the daily recommended calcium intake, you will be able to swap out some foods that may not agree with you.
When it comes to flavor, you can choose between cookies and cream, vanilla, chocolate, and a combination of chocolate and peanut butter. As you can see, there’s a lot of emphasis on making this powder palatable and appealing to people with a sweet tooth.
Due to packaging and weighing, it’s recommended that you opt for the 4-lbs. container; it’s a better deal and you get one more serving than you would from two combined 2-lb. containers.
Editor’s Choice: Muscle Pharm Combat 100% Casein Supplement
Muscle Pharm Combat 100% Casein Supplement
The Muscle Pharm Combat is a casein protein powder that offers a variety of nutrients. Each serving provides good amounts of potassium, protein, and calcium. For calcium, you could get up to 60% of the daily recommended dose, depending of course, on your body measurements and age.
What’s also good about this powder is that it comes with no saturated or trans fats. It’s also a low-carb formula, with just 2g per serving. Another nice benefit is that you can get up to 4% of your daily iron needs from a single serving.
Although there are numerous benefits to using the Muscle Pharm Combat, its main purpose remains the same as is with any casein supplement – muscle rebuilding. Due to how this supplement has been formulated, it is ideal for use during the night.
The slow release supplement benefits slow digestion, especially since it also incorporates a digestive enzyme blend. Unfortunately there aren’t many options when choosing the quantity — this supplement is only available in 4-lb. containers.
It has a good value per ounce, but it may be too big of an investment for newcomers in the world of casein-based proteins.
Best Unflavored: Naked Nutrition Naked Casein Protein Powder
Naked Nutrition Naked Casein Protein Powder
If you’re a new user or if you’re a purist when it comes to taking supplements, then Naked Nutrition might just have the product for you. The Naked Casein powder is a supplement that’s available unflavored and without added preservatives.
You can get this supplement in a 1-lb. or 5-lb. see-through container. Now, it’s not by any means the cheapest supplement in this niche, but it does offer good value for the money. Each serving gives you a good dose of potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium are found in largest quantities. It’s also nice to see that each serving has just 110 calories, which is slightly lower than the average. The overall quality of this supplement is great, especially when you factor in that the formula is gluten-free and soy-free.
As a result, the Naked Casein contains fewer allergens than most similar supplements. However, it’s only true if you opt for the unflavored version. There are chocolate and vanilla-flavored versions of this supplement which have a higher caloric content and potentially more allergens.
Best Sodium-Rich: Dymatize Elite
Clearly, not all casein protein powders have the same nutritional values. If you want something high in sodium and protein, then the Dymatize Elite might be your best choice. It’s also quite affordable compared to other similar supplements.
Whether you’re a long-time casein user or you’re finally set on trying out something other than whey-based supplements, the nutritional values per serving of Dymatize Elite are not bad at all. Although, slightly high in calories, 130 as opposed to 120 calories per serving, which is the most common value, it’s also high in proteins.
50% of each serving is pure protein. You’ll also be getting a good amount of calcium, potassium, and sodium. This is a very good combination to take if you want a slow-release supplement to take between meals or even overnight.
You can find this formula in 2-lb. and 4-lb. containers. And, you can also choose between four different flavors. Although palatable, the presence of artificial flavors will increase the caloric content, and may even introduce additional allergens into the mix.
Best Tasting: Kaged Muscle Kasein Chocolate Shake
Kaged Muscle Kasein Chocolate Shake
Kaged Muscle is not the only brand that offers chocolate-flavored casein supplements. But, if you’re looking for the best casein protein powder taste-wise, this may be it. The secret to the superior taste? The much smoother texture of the shake.
Unlike the usual grainy casein protein shakes, the Kaged Muscle shake is silky, creamy, and goes down much easier. Does it have a higher concentration of artificial flavor agents? It might, given the fact that this is one of the formulas that uses sugar instead of stevia.
Of course, this also means that the number of calories is slightly higher per serving too, at 130. But, the formula is still rich in iron, potassium, and calcium, and each serving has about 52% of protein. In terms of fuel and taste, Kaged Muscle hit it out of the park.
For this reason, Kaged Muscle is recommended for maximizing muscle gains. For anyone that’s not pumping iron, there are slightly healthier alternatives. Each Kaged Muscle Kasein jar holds 2lbs of supplement, which is the equivalent of around 25 servings.
You may also like to know that this formula doesn’t contain soy lecithin and that it’s also gluten-free. This makes it a considerably more appealing option to some and it also means that the Kaged Muscle Kasein powder contains fewer allergens.
What is Casein Protein and Where It’s Used
Caseins are a family of proteins, more specifically phosphoproteins. These proteins available in high quantities in cow milk, sheep milk, and buffalo milk. As a comparison, cow milk is about 80% casein, whereas human milk can have as little as 20% of it.
This family of proteins has a wide range of uses. It is widely used in the cheese manufacturing industry, as a food additive, and also as a dietary supplement. But its use is not restricted or limited to its nutritional values.
For example, you can also find casein paint or casein-based glues and, there are also certain compounds derived from casein which are helpful in tooth re-mineralization.
Back to casein for human consumption, it’s main purpose is to provide a boost of carbs, amino acids, calcium, and phosphorus.
Calcium is an essential element and part of daily human nutrition. It’s responsible for bone strength, maintaining your teeth, it enables blood to clot properly, and it also helps muscles to contract.
Phosphorus also shares some of the same beneficial properties of calcium in that it helps maintain bone and teeth strength, as well as help muscles function. But, an added benefit of phosphorus is that it helps kidneys filter out waste.
As you can see, this combination is very beneficial for the human body, hence the need to use only the best casein protein powder if you want to start taking supplements.
Casein Protein vs. Whey Protein
There’s really no debate here if you know the basics of bodybuilding, anatomy, and chemistry. First of all, the use of casein protein powder probably predates Arnold himself on the bodybuilding circuit, so, you know that it’s tried, tested, and true as a muscle-building protein.
Furthermore, muscle growth requires a very simple thing to happen; protein synthesis should be greater than the protein breakdown‚ this is what allows humans to gain muscle mass.
So why is casein protein powder better? What makes it superior? The answer may surprise you for one particular reason: Whey protein and casein protein have the same amino acid profile.
But, whey gets processed a lot faster in your body. This means that it turns into amino acids within one hour of consumption. In a way, this is helpful since it helps speed up muscle protein synthesis.
The problem is that the peak amino acids levels also drop very quickly. This makes it more of an anabolic protein. Therefore, it’s helpful in muscle regeneration, but only in short bursts, so to speak. It doesn’t do much for the preservation of muscle mass or long-term gains.
As already explained, casein is processed a lot slower. And, although using casein protein-based supplements may sometimes make you feel like you’re pumping iron with a full stomach, it will help build up to three times more muscle mass, in a shorter amount of time than whey-based protein powders.
You can also look at it as if you’re getting drip-fed with casein protein, as you would be fed through an IV in the hospital.
Other Things to Know About Casein Protein Supplements
As is the case with many other weightlifting and dietary supplements, casein-based supplements have multiple ingredients. Formulas can contain artificial sweeteners, flavoring agents, and other additives — some nutritious and some not.
Casein supplements are not easy to stomach. Therefore, you can expect to see artificial flavor enhancers quite often used in the formula. Also, because they’re derived from dairy and may use other ingredients, casein supplements may actually contain more allergens than other supplements.
Another fun fact is that even if you buy the best casein protein powder, the recommended time to use it is usually between meals, after a workout, or even better, at night. A casein protein shake before bed is something you may want to try out — as already explained, casein supplements have a long-lasting effect, which will easily accommodate a slower digestive process.
You should also know that casein protein is not always the main ingredient in powders intended for protein shakes. In fact, due to its many benefits, casein protein may also be used in competition-banned supplements.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s very important to always check the label for signs of any legality issues, especially if you’re pumping iron competitively. Of course, in the past, this was never an issue. But these days, body building competitions take steroid use much more seriously and regulate a wide range of substances that could give athletes an edge.
Pros and Cons of Using the Best Casein Protein Powder
Seeing as it’s often referred to as an anti-catabolic supplement, casein powder has plenty of benefits. But, don’t be completely surprised if its use may have some side-effects too.
Advantages of Taking Casein Protein
One of the biggest benefits of using the best casein protein powder is its ability to supplement your body with amino acids for a long period of time. Its slow-release action is very beneficial since it can keep your body supplied with amino acids even while you’re exerting a high amount of physical strain.
Casein also contains a compound called leucine. It has been considered for decades as an essential ingredient in muscle protein synthesis. Leucine is also a contributing factor in fat loss because it helps build up muscles faster and helps you burn through calories and fat a lot faster.
Another great benefit of using casein protein supplements is the impact they have on dealing with soreness. You see, a slow-digesting protein supplement is not just an ideal fuel source that can help boost performance, but it also helps ease the post-workout soreness.
Muscle soreness is a good sign after a workout. It means that you’ve done a good job of pushing your body to its limits or beyond. But, if you work out in the morning, this is not a good thing. You’ll still need to function properly throughout the day. This is exactly what a slow-release protein supplement can help you achieve.
Preserving muscle mass is another benefit of taking the best casein protein powder available to you. And again, it’s all due to the slow release of amino acids, which decreases the rate at which the muscles are metabolized.
Disadvantages of Taking Casein Protein
There are very few harmful side effects when it comes to using casein protein powder. It doesn’t really have anything to do with whether or not you’re using the best casein protein product you can get your hands on or not.
Although it does help your kidneys filter out waste, if you have damaged kidneys, casein protein powder is one of the last things you want to take. Damaged kidneys and various kidney and liver diseases call for a lower protein intake. The use of a casein protein powder is clearly a bad idea in such cases.
Again, nothing to do with the quality of the powder but rather an individual’s tolerance, casein powder can cause allergic reactions. This usually happens to people with severe lactose intolerance. But, other than these rare occurrences, using casein protein powder will always do more good than harm.
How to Select the Best Casein Protein Product
The first thing to look for is the list of ingredients. A lot of protein supplements come with various preservatives and other ingredients that you don’t have any need for.
Of course, taste is important, and for some people it may be the deciding factor. But, if you want the best casein protein powder overall, here are some clear guidelines. First look at the list of ingredients and the nutritional value per serving.
What you’re looking for is a high concentration of calcium. You’ll also want a low caloric value per serving and, if possible, no fat at all.
There’s also a consideration to be made regarding the sweetener. Some manufacturers use stevia while others use sugar. Stevia is preferred most of the time because it’s a healthier natural sweetener. On the other hand, sugar may considerably improve the taste. But, as previously stated, this is the least important thing.
Pricing is also something you should pay attention to. Weigh in the different prices per ounce when buying a jar of casein protein powder. Sometimes you may be charged extra for fancy flavor combinations.
Last but not least, check that your casein protein powder is made of micellar casein. Micellar casein is essentially casein in its natural form. But you won’t find this in all casein protein powders. Why is it important? Micellar casein is digested even slower than hydrolyzed casein, a version found much more often in supplements, and at lower price points.
Our Final Recommendation on the Best Casein Protein
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard supplement is our top pick and the first recommendation as the best casein protein powder. Its unique formula is balanced enough for serious weightlifters and everyday people who work physically intensive jobs.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard
Of course, it also helps that it tastes rather good and that it achieves that without the use of sugar. Its concentration of calcium helps maintain muscle mass and increase gains while also strengthening your bones and teeth. It’s a truly killer combination that doesn’t cost too much for what it does, especially if you’re not following a particularly healthy diet.