Any fitness enthusiast who is committed to increasing (and maintaining) muscle mass has to seriously consider protein supplements. The two main protein supplements are whey and casein, both of which are derived from dairy. Casein, which accounts for 80% of the protein found in dairy, is a slow digesting protein that slowly releases amino acids into your system.
Casein supplements are ideal when you want to ensure that your muscle buildup does not deteriorate. Unlike fats, your body does not have an adequate protein storage system. This means that if you stay for a long period of time without eating, your body will digest the protein in your body, with muscles being particularly susceptible.
This is why most people take their casein protein supplements before bedtime, as you will not be ingesting any proteins while asleep. The slow release nature of casein ensures that you get a regular supply of proteins for hours. One of the benefits of casein is that it is a ‘complete’ protein source, which provides all the amino acids that your body needs.
This review will look at seven of the more popular casein supplements currently available in the market to help guide your decision making when choosing the best casein protein.
GNC take a ‘purist’ approach with the Pro Performance 100 Casein supplementwhich contains 100% casein with no other active ingredients. The only other additive is the, somewhat mild, chocolate flavoring. You can either choose to buy a single pack containing 1 980 gram (34.57 ounce) bottle (at $32.99) or a double pack which has two bundled bottles (at $47.98).
The recommended serving is 25 grams which contains 120 calories and 1 gram of sugar. This means that the single pack contains 38 servings while the double pack contains 78 servings of the supplement. As with most GNC products, the supplement is totally gluten-free.
The most obvious pro of the GNC Pro Performance 100 Casein is that it delivers 100% casein. It has no other active ingredients.
Another win for this supplement is the low sugar and calorie content per serving. Supplements high in calories can end up increasing your body fat. With this supplement, you will be adding lean muscle mass.
The main con for this supplement is the bland taste. The low sugar content is a double-edged sword as it reduces calorie content per serving, but also leaves a weaker taste Profile.
There have also been complaints about its solubility when you don’t use a blender.
Who is this product for?
The GNC Pro Performance 100 Casein is a ‘no frills’ supplement. It is ideal for those who are building muscle mass while watching their caloric intake. If taste is a big concern for you, then this might not be your ideal casein supplement.
The BSN Syntha-6’smain selling point is that it contains six types of proteins: Whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate and egg albumen. It is clearly more than your average casein supplement.
Another feature that makes the BSN Syntha-6 stand out is the numerous flavors that it offers. Currently, the Syntha-6 comes in 5 unique flavors: Banana, cinnamon bun, chocolate cake batter, peanut butter and candy cane. From the diverse protein makeup and the numerous flavor profiles, it is clear that BSN has taken an innovative (and adventurous) approach when it comes to the Syntha-6.
A serving of the Syntha-6 is given as 22 grams and the protein supplement is available in two package option: the 28 serving container (616g/21.72oz) or the 48 serving container (1056g/37.24oz). With the 48 serving container, you would be paying $0.56 per ounce. Each serving contains 2-3 grams of sugar (depending on the flavor) and 1 gram of fiber.
If you want an ‘all-rounder’ protein supplement, then the fact that the Syntha-6 has multiple proteins (including whey) would be a big pro in your book
The protein supplement comes in many vibrant flavors
BSN is a recognized and award-winning supplement manufacturer which means that the Syntha-6 is guaranteed to be a safe and quality product.
The presence of other proteins makes this product unsuitable for users who only wanted the benefits of casein. Whey in particular, which is a fast digesting protein, can undercut the benefits of the casein.
Each serving of BSN Syntha-6 has up to 3 grams of sugar, which gives it more calories than other similar products. This can undercut your weight loss goals, especially if you wanted to gain lean muscle fat.
While the flavor options are a ‘pro’ in many users’ books, the artificial flavoring used has been described as ‘overwhelming’ by some.
Who is this product for?
The Syntha-6’s defining feature is the variety of proteins that it offers. This means that this product is ideal for someone who wants an all-in-one protein supplement that they can use pre-workout, post-workout and before sleeping. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, then this would also appeal to you.
This is another casein supplement that contains no other active ingredients apart from Casein. Ascent native fuel micellar casein powderalso comes in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate peanut. The main selling point for Ascents native fuel is its purity.
For starters, there are no artificial ingredients of any kind. This includes artificial flavors. All the flavoring material used in this protein supplement is natural and organic. Not only is the product gluten-free, it is informed sports choice certified. This means that it can be used by competitive athletes since it contains no banned substances.
The two pound packet for the supplement costs $39.99 which translates to $1.25 per ounce. Each 25 gram serving contains 130 calories and zero grams of sugar.
The ascent native fuel powder has no artificial ingredients of any kind. This makes it a healthier and safer protein supplement to use than other competing products which include artificial components.
Another pro is that each serving has virtually no sugar at all. This further adds to its deserved reputation as the supplement of choice if you are health conscious.
Despite not using artificial flavors, this supplement still tastes well across all three flavor options.
There are no banned substances in this protein supplement which makes it ideal for competitive athletes who are tested regularly for performance enhancing substances.
The biggest con for the ascent native fuel is the high price point. It costs $1.25 per ounce, which is almost double the price charged by other casein supplements.
Who is this product for
This is a product that is aimed towards elite athletes thanks to its healthy ingredients and the lack of any banned substances. The premium pricing further makes it less accessible to more casual fitness enthusiasts.
Muscletech is one of the better known names in fitness and the Nitrotech Casein Gold protein powderis a casein supplement that is targeted towards bodybuilders. What appeals to most users is that the supplement comes in a large 5 lbs pack.
With the pricing being at $47.99, this translates to $0.59 per ounce, which is a very reasonable for a premium product. As a product whose main target market is bodybuilders, a lot of effort has gone into reducing the calories per serving. Each 24g serving contains less than 1 gram of sugar and has 100 calories. It is nigh impossible to find another protein supplement with fewer calories per serving.
Despite having no additional sugar, the taste profile for the Nitrotech Casein Gold is improved by its cookies and cream flavor. As with any fitness product aimed at elite athletes, it contains no banned substances and can be safely used.
One of the biggest pros is that the Nitrotech casein gold has virtually no sugar and has an impressively minimal calorie content per serving.
Thanks to the bulk packaging, the price per ounce is also quite low, considering this is a product for elite athletes
The biggest con for this product has to be the artificial flavoring used. Most users have reported it to be too sweet and somewhat synthetic tasting.
Who is this product for?
The minimal calorie content makes this the perfect product for those seeking to gain lean muscle mass or those trying to gain muscle bulk while cutting their body fat content.
This is another 100% casein supplement that has no other proteins or non-protein active ingredients. Optimum Nutrition is a respected supplement manufacturer which makes their Nutrition Gold Standardone of the best casein supplements available in the market.
The supplement comes in a 4lb container which has 55 servings. Each 24g serving has 1g of sugar and 120 calories which leans towards the leaner and healthier protein supplement categorization. Optimum Nutrition’s gold standard also comes in five unique flavors: cookies & cream, banana cream, creamy vanilla, chocolate peanut, and chocolate supreme.
With 4lb of the supplement costing $47.32, it translates to $0.74 per ounce. This is a reasonable price point for a product of its quality.
The flavors are vibrant, rich, and don’t have a synthetic taste. This makes it an ideal casein supplement for people who are particular about taste
It is one of the best reviewed casein supplements both by industry experts as well as its users
When it comes to the Gold Standard supplement, the main complaint is that it does not dissolve ‘cleanly’ in both water and milk. Unless you have access to a blender, you should expect some chunks to be present in your protein shake.
Who is it for?
This is the ideal casein supplement for someone looking for a quality casein supplement with a good taste profile. Ideally, they should also have a blender at home.
The select protein powder supplementthat contains both casein and whey is the perfect product for those who want the benefits associated with both types of protein. Where PEScience stands out with this product is the sheer number of flavor options available. While it is impressive for a protein supplement to come in five flavors, this one comes in a staggering eight flavor options: strawberry cheesecake, cookies n cream, choco peanut, white chocolate, frosted chocolate, snickerdoodle, gourmet vanilla and peanut butter.
Each 32 gram serving of the Select Protein whey and casein powder contains 120 calories and 3 grams of sugar. The sugar content per serving is a bit on the higher side when compared to competing products but it does improve the flavor. The cost per ounce is $1.07 which is also slightly on the higher end of the scale.
Dual casein and whey protein benefits
A variety of rich flavors to choose from
High sugar content
Who is it for?
This is the ideal product for consumers who are taste conscious and want to enjoy the benefits of both whey and casein in their shakes.
The Dymatize Elite Caseinis a 100% casein supplement that contains no other proteins or active ingredients. The 2 lbs container comes in three flavors: smooth vanilla, rich chocolate and cinnamon bun.
As a product aimed towards elite athletes, it has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it contains no banned substances. It costs $28.49 which translates to $0.89 per ounce, which is a reasonable pricing point.
No banned substances
3 flavor options
Flavors can be overwhelmingly sweet
Who is this product for?
Elite athletes who want a 100% casein supplement with flavor options
As the review has shown, the perfect supplement for you depends on your needs, budget and taste preferences. If you want to enjoy the benefits of casein, especially as a pre-bedtime product, then you will be best served by the supplements that contain 100% casein protein.
If you also want the benefits of whey and other proteins, then the perfect options for you will be the ‘hybrid’ supplements that are not 100% casein. If you are particular about taste, then you should the best casein protein supplements for you are those that come in different flavors.