Unlike whey, micellar casein is a slow-digesting protein.
It gives it a kind of natural time-release mechanism which many people feel fits better with their nutritional needs. It’s also rich in essential amino acids and minerals, aside from other health benefits.
To save you the hassle of doing the research, I teamed up with a dietitian and spent several months of research to list the best casein protein powders.
Our Top Casein Protein Powders (September 2023)
1 - Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Casein Protein (Editor's Choice)
Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Casein Protein is our top pick because it ticks all the boxes for purity, solubility, and quality.
This nighttime casein protein powder provides 25 grams of slow-digesting micellar casein sourced from hormone-free, grass-fed cattle per serving.
It promises to support muscle recovery and growth while sleeping and is easily soluble for a pleasant mouthfeel. Although there are only two flavor options—chocolate and vanilla—this micellar casein protein powder drink is surely a treat for the tastebuds.
Moreover, this protein powder contains no gluten, GMOs, artificial sweeteners, coloring, preservatives, and minimal fat and cholesterol.
I have immensely enjoyed its taste and physical effects, so I have replaced my late-night snacks with this protein drink.
- Helps with muscle protein synthesis and recovery
- Protein sourced from 100% grass-fed cattle
- Mixes easily
- No artificial ingredients
- Uses stevia as a sweetener
2 - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein
Casein is considered by many a more useful form of protein than its cousin, whey.
That’s because of how slowly it is digested and the fact that it seems to improve overall colon health .
ON Gold Standard Casein Powder is one of the top ways to get the nutrients you're after without having to put up with the GMOs present in other protein powders.
With Gold Standard, you get 24 grams of this micellar casein protein per serving along with only 120 calories, 540 mg calcium, and 220 mg potassium.
- Made with 100% micellar casein
- Mixes easily with water and milk
- A more agreeable taste than most others
- Low carb and easily digested
- Has four flavors to choose from
- Contains carrageenan to improve texture
- Contains sucralose
There's also Aminogen®, which helps promote optimal nutrient absorption .
However, I did not like that they addressed the usual bland taste of these types of casein protein powders by including the artificial sweetener sucralose.
If you're looking for a way to bolster your workout results and build lean muscle, you should probably consider one of the four flavors of ON Gold Standard Casein Powder.
3 - BulkSupplements Casein Protein
BulkSupplements has built their reputation on delivering high-quality supplements at prices anyone can afford.
They keep costs down by minimizing packaging costs which is fine because a plastic tub isn't going to help with muscle growth. It's the contents that count.
BulkSupplements Casein Protein Powder is unflavored and mixes easily with your shakes and smoothies without ruining the taste.
This protein powder can also be combined with different types of batter to add a protein punch to your muffins and cakes.
This is absorbed much slower than whey which provides your system with an even flow of nutrients, including the amino acids necessary to produce lean, strong muscles.
You can conveniently check the amounts of essential amino acids per serving in the included amino acid profile.
- 25 grams protein per serving
- Mixes easily with water, milk or batter
- Helps provide optimal benefits
- More affordable than most competitors
- The powder is super fine so it tends to go everywhere
- Doesn't specify if the protein source is micellar casein
It's recommended to take this casein protein powder shortly after working out to allow it to help with muscle growth and repair.
4 - Naked Casein
Each serving of Naked Powder contains 5.5 grams of muscle-building amino acids and BCAAs .
Beyond that, there’s nothing else to speak of because Naked has designed their powder to be the cleanest on the market.
They provide this vital nutrient in its purest form without artificial ingredients, additives, or preservatives and are free of genetically modified organisms.
Each casein protein powder serving delivers 27 grams of 100% pure micellar casein with minimal carbs. I tested the Naked Casein while on a keto diet to lose weight and build muscle, and found that it is an ideal choice.
- 27 grams of protein per serving
- As simple and straightforward as can be
- Low in carbohydrates for those on the keto diet
- No GMOs and no artificial ingredients
- 5.5 grams of BCAAs per serving
- 100% micellar casein
- Not much of any taste
- Hard to mix with liquids
While it’s free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colorings, the chocolate flavor barely makes any taste.
Naked suggests the best time to take micellar casein powder is before bed as it will help optimize your workout results even while you sleep.
5 - Dymatize Elite Casein Protein Powder
This casein protein powder product from Dymatize helps supply your muscles with a full day’s worth of muscle-building BCAAs so your body can build and repair muscle tissue around the clock .
Micellar casein is a type of protein derived from milk and is the more bountiful of the two primary milk proteins (whey being the other), with many believing it to be the more useful.
Oftentimes, hours after a strenuous workout, any whey-based protein product you might have taken is long spent.
However, at the same time, your muscles still crave the protein and BCAAs in your protein powder to help with muscle protein synthesis .
This is where micellar casein shines as it helps deliver that protein your muscles are craving, thereby allowing you to obtain the optimum benefits from your workout efforts.
- 100% micellar casein powder
- 25 grams of protein per serving
- Five different flavors to keep things interesting
- Mixes easily with both water and milk
- Tends to mix heavy so don’t use too much
Each serving of Dymatize Elite casein protein powder provides 5.3 grams of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) and 25 grams of micellar casein protein.
After taking the Dymatize Elite casein protein powder for two weeks, I have noticed accelerated recovery and increased energy levels.
6 - Six Star Pro Nutrition Casein Protein
Six Star Casein Powder provides 24 grams of long-lasting, easily digestible protein per serving for active men and women, bodybuilders, athletes, and CrossFit enthusiasts.
It is made in a purified form that's combined with calcium and iron to produce a supplement that works.
It's also virtually free of fat and low in carbs, but contains BCAAs and amino acids your body needs in the hours following a strenuous workout.
While it does contain 1 gram of sugar to improve taste, it's gluten-free and low in cholesterol.
- Maybe the best tasting powder
- High-quality drink for a better physique
- 100% gluten free with only 9 grams of carbs
- 24 grams of protein per serving
- Uses casein and whey protein blend
- Doesn't dissolve well using a shaker
While Six Star Protein is easily absorbed by the digestive tract and slow to release, it doesn't seem to dissolve well using a shaker.
What is Casein Protein?
Casein protein is one of the two primary types of milk protein, with whey being the other. It is a slow-digesting protein that contains all the necessary amino acids.
It commonly takes on the appearance of "curds" or milk globules. Curds are traditionally used in cheese, yogurts, and a variety of other foods.
Today, however, they are recognized for providing a type of protein that is very slow to digest and has outstanding muscle-building and repair properties .
Well, the main feature that makes casein special is how it forms a kind of gel or clot when in the stomach, making it perfect at providing a gradual release of nutrients such as amino acids into the bloodstream. This naturally makes it perfect for both long workouts and recovery.
- Chris Hanson, Fitness
When Should I Take Casein Protein?
You should take Casein protein before bed (at least 40g), particularly if you have engaged in a strenuous workout that afternoon or evening.
While you sleep, it will work to repair damaged muscle tissues and build new, stronger, leaner muscles in its place.
When it comes to how much organic casein most people take before bed, a standard serving of this powder is just as they would at any other time.
What Are the Benefits of Casein Protein Powder?
The benefits of casein protein powder are its ability to provide a measured, evenly-spaced release of protein into your system over the course of many hours and muscle growth through the BCAAs and other nutrients.
It also helps improve your metabolic rate .
Some preliminary studies have found that casein can have other impressive benefits, including antibacterial and immune benefits, reducing triglyceride levels, free radicals, and fat.
- Rudy Mawer, MSc
Potential Side Effects
Any side effects resulting from taking casein protein typically have to do with people who are unknowingly lactose intolerant and use the supplement. S
ince it's derived from cow’s milk, those who cannot tolerate dairy products will experience an upset stomach if they take this type of protein.
Whey Vs. Casein: Is One Better?
While both organic casein and whey proteins do an outstanding job helping you build lean muscle, with its easy digestibility and time release properties, casein is preferred by many athletes and bodybuilders.
The fact that it has the added benefit of making many people feel full longer, helps stave off cravings that can lead to binge snacking and conditioning setbacks.
But if what you want is a slow, steady climb toward a stronger, leaner physique, then it may well do a better job.
Now, let's find out which brand deserves the number one spot on our list of the best micellar casein protein powders.
What to Look For in Casein Protein Powders
Look for the form of casein protein, the protein content, the ingredients, and the taste.
Form of Casein Protein
There are two forms of casein: micellar casein and casein hydrolysate. The best casein protein is the slow-digesting and slow-release form, which is the micellar casein compared to the rapid-absorbing hydrolysate.
You asked for protein, so you obviously want to get as much protein out of one serving of a protein powder. But it still depends on your fitness goal.
If you want to bulk up, choose one with higher protein and calorie contents, regardless of fat and carb content.
But if you're taking a casein powder to lose weight, you want to go for one that has a fair amount of protein with as few carbs and fat as possible.
In either case, aim for 20 to 28 grams of protein per serving to get your desired results. The best casein protein powder has a maximum of 150 calories per serving while having the ideal amounts of carbs, fat, and protein intake for your goals.
While the main ingredient of casein powders is micellar casein (duh), some are nutritionally better as they provide BCAAs, vitamins, and minerals which help with muscle building and weight loss efforts.
It's always best to stay away from protein powders with artificial ingredients like sweeteners, flavors, and colorings. And let's not forget to check for the added sugar content. It can easily add up with every scoop.
Are you sensitive to caffeine? If so, consider finding a casein protein powder with no stimulant content. That way, you won't have to worry about experiencing the jitters or sleeplessness at night.
Taste & Flavor Range
It's pretty hard to find a delicious protein powder to mix with your workout shake that's not loaded with sugars and artificial flavors.
Some people prefer unflavored protein powders just to avoid the artificial ingredients, but your taste buds might not agree. Fortunately, there are naturally-flavored micellar casein powders available in the market, just like the one from Naked.
But if you're good with the taste of your current juice or smoothie, then consider to mix an unflavored casein powder.
Our #1 Recommended Casein Protein Powder
Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Casein Protein is our top choice among all the micellar casein powders profiled above.
It provides just the right amount of protein per serving and tastes great, unlike other protein powders, which tend to have a bland flavor.
Many clients have also attested to its positive effects on their muscle mass growth and recovery. Also, it contains minimal fat and cholesterol, making it suitable for those watching their weight.
So if you’re on the lookout for a great-tasting and clean protein powder, this is the one we’d recommend.
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