Best Casein Protein Powders – Top 10 Brands Ranked for 2018

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Jump Ahead to the Top 10 Casein Powders

Are you happy with your body? Even if you consider yourself to be in shape, you may still want to pack on some extra muscle. Considering you’re reading this guide, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re interested in weightlifting, and that you’d like to gain some muscle.

Whether you want to become a professional bodybuilder or you just want to bulk up a bit and get in better shape, there are many important factors to keep in mind. Obviously, exercise is absolutely essential – and not just any sort of exercise. You’ll want to target the exercises that can help you build the most muscle. While cardio and other low-intensity exercises are good for losing weight and keeping your heart healthy, when it comes to building muscle, nothing beats pumping iron!

But it’s not just about exercise – diet is also an essential part of gaining muscle mass. Without a proper diet, you could dedicate hundreds of hours of your life to working out at the gym, and still see pretty mediocre results. By adapting your diet for maximized muscle building, you can speed up your results, build more muscle, and protect your body from over-exhaustion and injury. There are a lot of important aspects of bodybuilding diets, but getting enough protein is the most important aspect.

The last key element of building the body of your dreams is supplementation. There are all sorts of fitness supplements that you can use to help you reach your goals faster. Today, we’re here to talk about protein powders. Specifically, we’re going to cover casein protein, one of the most useful types of protein supplements.

What is Casein Protein?

Casein protein is a complex protein found in dairy products. Foods with casein protein include milk, greek yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. Natural casein protein is also found in trace amounts in some processed meats and seafood, but it’s primarily found in dairy. Of all the casein protein foods, cheese has the highest concentration.

Casein is important for bodybuilders because it is absorbed slowly by the body. Unlike whey protein, which digests very quickly, casein takes up to 7 hours to fully digest. Whey protein absorbs/digests at a rate of 8-10g per hour, while casein digests at a rate around 5g per hour.

This slow absorption is very useful for a number of reasons. First, it helps keep you feeling full for several hours. For those on restrictive diets, this can be very beneficial in helping to avoid hunger cravings. Second, it keeps your muscles fed with amino acids for several hours, which can help them recover more efficiently, and protect them from damage. Many bodybuilders take casein protein before bed to keep their muscles fueled throughout the night.

What are Casein Supplements?

Casein protein powders are simply pure casein protein extracted from milk and processed down into a fine powder. Generally, the powder is then flavored and sweetened, and may or may not be mixed with other forms of protein (such as whey or soy) to make the finished product.

The best casein protein powders will provide a solid dose of natural casein protein in an easy, convenient package. Instead of having to eat large quantities of dairy products, which are high in fat and cholesterol, these casein powders give you a concentrated dose of pure protein. And since you might need more protein than you think, having an easy way to increase your daily intake is important.

There are typically two types of these supplements: pure casein protein powders, which contain only casein protein and flavorings, and protein blends, which contain a variety of protein sources, often including casein, whey, soy, egg, etc. proteins. In general, the straight casein proteins are better, but it really depends on what you’re looking for. We’ll show you the top casein protein powders further down this page.

Benefits of Casein Protein

To fully understand all the positive attributes of these supplements, you should understand the benefits of protein itself. Here are some of the benefits you may experience from protein:

  • Helps build muscle
  • Keeps your muscles fueled with amino acids for 5+ hours
  • Helps post-workout recovery
  • Helps repair muscle tissues
  • Helps stimulate muscle growth
  • Helps make dieting easier
  • Helps you feel more full
  • May help muscle soreness
  • Easy way to increase protein intake

There are many benefits of casein protein powders, but in essence, the main benefit is that they are convenient. It’s super easy to mix up a protein shake quickly, which will provide anywhere from 15 to 30+ grams of high quality protein – the same amount you’d get from eating a large protein-rich meal. Casein protein in particular has an excellent amino acid profile – and amino acids are essential for muscle building and overall health.

Who Can Benefit from Casein Protein?

Casein protein is highly beneficial for a wide range of people. The groups that will notice the most benefits are:

  • Bodybuilders – Bodybuilders, weightlifters and other strength athletes will experience many benefits of casein protein. Anyone who lifts weights on a regular basis needs quite a bit of protein in their daily diet – so much so that it can become a challenge to meet that requirement with food alone. Casein powders are an affordable and easy way to increase your daily protein intake. Casein is particularly useful for use before bed, as it keeps your muscles fueled throughout the night. As a weightlifter, you want to remain anabolic at all times, and avoid entering a catabolic state at all costs. With a quick casein protein shake before bed, you can keep your muscles happy all night long with a steady stream of amino acids.
  • Athletes – Athletes of all types can benefit from adding a casein supplement to their diets. Whenever you use your body in a strenuous way – whether that’s with running, sports, weightlifting, or something else – you damage your muscles. With proper fuel, your muscles will recover and grow larger – and casein protein is the perfect fuel for muscle growth! Casein protein is the best type of protein powder for athletes wanting to recover faster and more efficiently.
  • Vegetarians – Vegetarians, and others on restrictive diets can benefit from casein protein. As someone who doesn’t eat meat and/or dairy products, it can be difficult to meet daily protein intake needs. Adding a casein protein can help. Keep in mind that, since it’s derived from milk, casein is not technically vegan – although it is vegetarian. If you’re looking for a true vegan protein powder, look for a good vegetable protein and/or soy protein blend.

Are There Any Side Effects?

People often ask us about any potential casein protein dangers or side effects. In general, there’s not much to worry about when taking casein. Some people do experience some side effects, as detailed below:

  • Upset Stomach

Some people experience an upset stomach and/or gassiness when taking casein protein powders. If you find this happens to you, try having your casein shake after a meal and not on an empty stomach.

  • Allergic reactions

A small percentage of people are allergic to casein protein and/or the other ingredients used in these supplements. Allergies can be minor to severe, resulting in anything from upset stomach to vomiting to rashes. If you have an allergic reaction to ANY supplement, stop taking it immediately.

There are more possible side effects for consuming too much protein in general, but that doesn’t apply specifically to casein protein. In general, there are very few casein protein dangers or side effects to be worried about.

To avoid any potential side effects, we recommend that you always follow the dosage instructions on the product packaging. Do not take more than the recommended amount, unless you run it by your doctor first. This applies to ANY supplement you take.

Note: We do not recommend taking any supplements featured on this website without speaking with a doctor first!

How To Take Casein Protein

If you’re wondering when to take casein protein or how to use it, this is the section for you. Casein protein is best used for muscle recovery. So, it’s good to take after workouts, and before bed to help fuel your muscles at night.

However, most experts recommend that you take whey protein immediately following your workouts, because whey absorbs faster. Casein, on the other hand, takes several hours to digest. So, immediately following your workout, you should take whey protein or another fast-acting protein first, then you can take casein in addition to that. Many people like to mix casein in with their post-workout whey protein shakes. This gives you the best of both worlds; fast-acting whey and slow-digesting casein.

Casein and whey both offer unique and significant benefits. If you’re wondering whether to use casein or whey at a particular time, ask yourself: do you need fast-absorbing protein or slow-absorbing? Immediately after a workout, you need amino acids in your bloodstream as soon as possible, so whey is the best choice. But in between meals, and especially right before bed, a casein shake is the way to go.

Many weightlifters like to use casein protein before bed, because of the unique casein protein benefits and slow-digesting properties. This is really the best way to use these supplements. Having a quick casein shake before bed will help keep a steady stream of amino acids flowing to your muscles for up to 7 hours.

So, to sum up, casein protein is best used in between meals and before bed. Many people also like to mix it into their post-workout recovery shakes, but remember that you’ll want a fast-digesting protein as your main post-workout drink. Lastly, we recommend using a BlenderBottle to mix your casein shakes – it’s much easier than using a clunky blender!

Go To: Top 10 Shaker Bottles & Mixers

What to Look for in a Good Casein Protein Powder

In order to find the best casein protein powder for you, you’ll have to weigh your options. There are a TON of different products out there. Even our our list below of the top casein protein powders, you’ll find a full 10 different options. How can you select a single “best” product for you? Be sure to look at these key factors, explained below:

  • Quality of Ingredients – what type of casein protein is used? Micellar casein, casein hydrolysate, calcium caseinate, etc? What type of sweeteners are used? Are there any unnecessary ingredients? The best casein supplements will generally be simple, clean formulas with a solid dose of protein and not much else.
  • Amount of Protein – how much protein is in each serving? The majority of our top recommendations include around 20-30g in each serving, so look for that ballpark.
  • Value for Money – how much does the product cost per serving? Be sure to calculate on the actual per serving cost (or per gram of protein cost), rather than just comparing the price of two different packages. While you don’t necessarily want cheap casein protein, you don’t want to spend more than necessary.
  • Taste/Texture – how does the product taste? Does it mix easily? It can be difficult to tell, so we recommend reading casein protein reviews to get a feel for how people like the taste.

Top 10 Casein Protein Powders Compared

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1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein

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Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein is one of the best casein protein powders available. Made by Optimum Nutrition, this simple but highly effective supplement truly sets the standard for quality in a highly competitive industry. With 23g of pure casein protein per serving, 100% Casein is an excellent product that will deliver you the casein you want.

Highlights:

  • 23g casein protein per serving
  • High quality source of protein
  • High calcium content
  • Ideal as a pre-bedtime snack
  • No artificial ingredients or unnecessary fillers
  • Amino acid profile
  • Made by Optimum Nutrition, one of the best companies in the industry!
  • Great value for money
  • Available in 6 flavors

Who makes it: 100% Casein is made by Optimum Nutrition, as part of their Gold Standard product line. Optimum Nutrition is one of the biggest and best companies in the supplement industry. They have many award-winning and best-selling products on the market, and a huge number of loyal fans and customers. In the sports supplement industry, Optimum Nutrition truly sets the Gold Standard for quality, purity, and efficacy.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 23g casein protein, consisting of micellar casein and calcium caseinate. Casein protein is known for its slow-digesting properties, which make it ideal as a between-meal or pre-bedtime snack. One serving of Gold Standard 100% Casein contains 23g of high quality casein protein, which is packed with vital amino acids like arginine, alanine, glutamine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, and more.

Bottom line: Overall, Gold Standard 100% Casein is the top casein protein powder on the market. This award winning product uses the highest quality ingredients possible to deliver a 23g dose of pure casein protein, and nothing else. Made by Optimum Nutrition, one of the fitness community’s favorite brands, you can be confident in your choice when you choose the Gold Standard!

Full Breakdown: Gold Standard 100% Casein

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2. MusclePharm Combat 100% Casein

MusclePharm-Combat-100-Casein

Combat 100% Casein is a simple and effective casein supplement made by MusclePharm. With 28g of high quality casein protein per serving, this product is one of the best casein protein powders on the market. This supplement also contains a unique digestive enzyme blend.

Highlights:

  • 28g casein protein per serving
  • Added digestive enzyme blend
  • High calcium content
  • Mixes easily
  • Provides 5+ hours of amino acids
  • High quality ingredients
  • Gluten free
  • Excellent amino acid profile
  • Made by MusclePharm, a very well known and respected company
  • Great value for money

Who makes it: Combat 100% Casein is made by MusclePharm, a large fitness supplement manufacturer founded in 2008. Every day, the dedicated team over at MusclePharm works hard to develop cutting-edge formulas for the next generation of fitness supplements. With an already impressive product line and the backing of hundreds of thousands of loyal fans, MusclePharm is here to stay and is widely considered to be one of the best companies in the industry.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 28g casein protein, consisting of micellar casein. Casein protein is known for its time-release qualities, making it perfect for taking right before bed. One serving of MusclePharm Combat 100% Casein will keep a slow and steady stream of important amino acids flowing to your recovering muscles.
  • Digestive enzyme blend, consisting of protease and lactase.

Bottom line: Overall, Combat 100% Casein is a very good casein protein powder and one of our top overall recommendations. With a large 28g serving of high quality casein protein, plus added digestive enzymes, each serving of this supplement will help get you one step closer to your fitness goals.

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3. Dymatize Nutrition Elite Casein

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Elite Casein is a good casein protein powder from Dymatize Nutrition. With 24g of high quality casein protein per serving, plus an added enzyme blend, Elite Casein has everything you need to keep your muscles fueled with vital amino acids for hours on end.

Highlights:

  • 24g casein protein per serving
  • Enzyme blend
  • 50% of your daily calcium per serving
  • Excellent amino acid profile
  • Absorbs slowly
  • Available in 4 tasty flavors
  • Made by a very reputable company
  • Excellent value for money

Who makes it: Elite Casein is made by Dymatize Nutrition, a large scale manufacturer of high quality fitness supplements. Since 1994, Dymatize has employed a team of fitness and health professionals to help create valuable, effective supplements for the next generation of fitness enthusiasts.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 24g casein protein, consisting of micellar casein and calcium caseinate. This slow-digesting protein is ideal for use before bed, or any time where you want a slow-and-steady release of amino acids. With 24g of casein protein per scoop, one serving of Elite Casein is more than enough to keep your muscles fed overnight, allowing you to wake up recovered and ready to hit the gym again!

Bottom line: Overall, Elite Casein is a great product for anyone looking for a good casein supplement. Each serving of this affordable supplement gives you 24g of high quality casein protein, plus an enzyme blend. Elite Casein is priced very affordably, and provides excellent value in each scoop!

4. Universal Nutrition Casein Pro

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Casein Pro is a premium quality micellar casein protein powder made by Universal Nutrition. Boasting 24g of pure casein protein per serving, Casein Pro makes the perfect bedtime snack for weightlifters.

Highlights:

  • 24g casein protein per serving
  • Perfect for a snack before bed
  • Good value

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in 3 flavors

Who makes it: Casein Pro is made by Universal Nutrition, one of the oldest and most well-respected companies in the supplement industry. Founded in 1977, Universal Nutrition has nearly 40 years of experience developing and manufacturing high-quality sports nutrition supplements to fit a variety of needs.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 24g casein protein, consisting of micellar casein. Casein is best known for its ability to be digested slowly over several hours. It’s a favorite of bodybuilders.

Bottom line: Overall, Casein Pro is a great product at a great price. It uses pure micellar casein, widely considered to be the superior form of casein. At 24g a serving, it’s in line with most of our top recommendations. The only downside we could find was that it’s only available in 3 flavors, although most people seem to really like the taste of this product.

5. MuscleTech Platinum Casein

MuscleTech-Platinum-Casein

MuscleTech Platinum Casein is a high quality casein supplement at an affordable price. Made by MuscleTech, one of the industry’s best companies, Platinum Casein provides a full 24g of high quality micellar casein per serving.

Highlights:

  • 24g casein protein per serving
  • Over 5g BCAAs and 4g glutamine per serving
  • Advanced formula
  • Digests slowly over time
  • Provides sustained release amino acids
  • Great for use before going to bed
  • Contains 100% micellar casein
  • Affordable

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in 3 flavors

Who makes it: Platinum 100% Casein is made by MuscleTech, one of the most widely known companies in the game. With over a million fans on Facebook and countless more loyal customers, MuscleTech is somewhat of a household name in the fitness community – and for good reason. Their high quality products, great customer support and low prices make them a top choice for athletes everywhere.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 24g casein protein, consisting of 100% micellar casein. Mostly used as a bedtime shake to keep the body anabolic at night, casein protein digests slowly in the body. This provides a steady amount of amino acids to your muscles.

Bottom line: Overall, MuscleTech Platinum 100% Casein is a great product. Like most of our top recommendations, it offers 24g of protein in each serving, and uses high-quality micellar casein. The only downside is the lack of flavor options.

6. Six Star Pro Nutrition Casein Protein

Six-Star-Pro-Nutrition-Casein-Protein

Six Star Pro Nutrition Casein Protein is an effective casein supplement with 20g of high quality casein protein in each serving. Developed by the same company behind MuscleTech, the Six Star Pro product line is designed for the hardest-working athletes out there.

Highlights:

  • 20g casein protein per serving
  • Designed for athletes
  • Made by the company behind MuscleTech
  • Digests slowly
  • Provides extended release amino acids for many hours
  • Best used before bed
  • Affordable

Drawbacks:

  • Lower protein content than most on this list

Who makes it: This product is made by Six Star Pro Nutrition, which is owned by the guys behind MuscleTech. This product line is designed for professional athletes, weightlifters and anyone else who needs top-notch supplements at a reasonable price.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 20g casein protein, derived from milk protein isolate and micellar casein. Casein protein is used by bodybuilders and athletes for its slow-digesting properties. Take a serving of this protein powder before bed, and you’ll have a slow-and-steady stream of vital amino acids to feed your muscles throughout the night.

Bottom line: Overall, Six Star Pro Nutrition Casein Protein is a good casein powder. With the backing of MuscleTech, one of the best brands in the industry, you can trust in this product. With that being said, this does have one of the lower protein concentrations of the products on this list, a 20g per serving.

7. Optimum Nutrition Platinum Tri-Celle Casein

Optimum-Nutrition-Platinum-Tri-Celle-Casein

Platinum Tri-Celle Casein is an innovative new casein supplement made by Optimum Nutrition. Using a new formula that boasts casein molecules 3x the normal size, this product features protein that digests even slower than typical casein protein, leading to even better slow-release protein qualities.

Highlights:

  • 30g casein protein per serving
  • Exclusive casein blend
  • Innovative technologies make casein molecules 3x normal size
  • This slows digestion even further, leading to slow-release amino acids
  • Extended amino acid delivery
  • One of the slowest digesting proteins available
  • Tasty flavors

Drawbacks:

  • Fairly expensive compared to our top recommendations

Who makes it: Platinum Tri-Celle Casein is made by Optimum Nutrition, otherwise known as ON. For many years, Optimum Nutrition has been an industry leader in creating high quality, innovative fitness supplements. Best known for their Gold Standard product line, ON offers a huge variety of high quality products.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 30g casein protein, consisting of restructured micellar casein. The casein used in this product has been restructured to increase the molecular size, thereby increasing the time it takes to be digested in the body. With 30g of slow-digesting protein in each serving, Tri-Celle Casein is the perfect option for a pre-bedtime snack.

Bottom line: Overall, Platinum Tri-Celle Casein is a great product. Using a formula that allows casein protein to digest at an even slower rate than usual, Optimum Nutrition has created a very valuable and unique protein powder. With that being said, it’s fairly expensive when compared to our top recommendations.

8. Inner Armour Casein AAE

Inner-Armour-Casein-AAE

Inner Armour Casein AAE is a innovative muscle protecting protein made by Inner Armour Nutrition. With a full 24g of slow digesting protein in every serving, and a full 9g of glutamine and BCAAs, Casein AAE is the perfect tool for adding casein protein to your diet.

Highlights:

  • 24g casein protein per serving
  • Enhanced with additional amino acids
  • Great to take before bed
  • Added creatine and whey protein isolate
  • Digests slowly, keeping amino acids flowing to your muscle tissues
  • Affordable

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in 2 flavors

Who makes it: Casein AAE is made by Inner Armour, a nutritional sports performance company that has built their business on 3 key values: indisputable trust, quality, and results. Every day, the Inner Armour team strives to be the very best at developing the next generation of effective fitness supplements.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 24g protein, consisting of alpha, beta and kappa casein protein, and whey protein isolate. Using an innovative blend of protein powders, Casein AAE gives you the best of both worlds with slow-digesting casein protein, and quick-digesting whey protein.
  • Creatine

Bottom line: Overall, Casein AAE is a unique product that not only supplies high quality casein protein, but also offers added whey protein isolate and creatine. It does not list the specific quantity of creatine used, so you will likely still need to take a separate creatine supplement. Unfortunately, it’s only available in 2 flavors – chocolate and vanilla.

9. MET-Rx 100% Micellar Casein

MET-Rx-100-Micellar-Casein

MET-Rx 100% Micellar Casein is a simple casein protein supplement. With 25g of 100% micellar casein in each serving, along with zero sugar and low carbs, this supplement provides an easy way to increase your protein intake.

Highlights:

  • 25g casein protein per serving
  • Zero sugar
  • Low carbs
  • Low fat
  • 3g fiber per serving
  • Perfect for a nighttime supplement
  • Keeps the muscles fueled with amino acids

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in chocolate flavor
  • A bit expensive

Who makes it: This product is made by MET-Rx, a large manufacturer of health foods and fitness supplements. Founded in 1991 by a team of industry experts and fitness enthusiasts, MET-Rx focuses on making high quality fitness supplements, protein bars and more.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 25g casein protein, consisting of 100% micellar casein. Casein protein is perfect for use as a bedtime snack, because it keeps your body fed with protein throughout the night. Casein digests slowly, providing a steady stream of amino acids.
  • 3g dietary fiber

Bottom line: Overall, MET-Rx 100% Micellar Casein is a good product. The formula combines 25g protein with a tasty but low-carb, zero-sugar blend to provide an easy, good tasting casein shake for when you need a good time-release protein. Unfortunately, it’s only available in one flavor (chocolate).

10. 4 Dimension Nutrition Casein

4-Dimension-Nutrition-Casein

4 Dimension Nutrition Casein is a simple and effective casein supplement. With 24g of micellar casein protein per serving, this straightforward protein powder has everything you need to experience the benefits of slow-released protein.Highlights:

  • 24g casein protein per serving
  • 100% micellar casein
  • 5g of BCAAs per serving
  • Tastes great
  • Mixes easily
  • Provides slow-release amino acids

Drawbacks:

  • More expensive than average
  • Only available in 3 flavors (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla)

Who makes it: This product is made by 4 Dimension Nutrition, or 4DN for short. Founded in 2012, 4DN has quickly grown into a sizeable company. They focus on creating simple and effective supplements for the growing fitness community.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 24g casein protein, consisting of 100% micellar casein. Casein protein absorbs slowly in the body, providing many hours of steady amino acid release for long-term muscle fueling. Micellar casein is widely considered to be the best form of casein available.

Bottom line: Overall, 4 Dimension Nutrition Casein is a good product. Its simple formula uses 100% micellar casein to deliver a slow-and-steady stream of vital amino acids. This product is a bit on the expensive side, and is only available in 3 flavors.

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