The Best Micellar and Slow-Release Casein Protein Powder to Buy in 2023
Casein or whey protein? If you're serious about your training and your nutrition, then you should be you serious about your supplements, which makes the aforementioned question one of our most-received.
While an efficient training plan and intuitive nutrition are the two pillars of any smart man's routine, using the right supplements — such as casein protein — can help unlock a new level of health and potential when it comes to your workouts and recovery.
By now, you're probably up to date on your whey protein — here, we dissect the best to buy in 2019 — and you're likely to be looking for the next weapon to add to your supplement arsenal. Casein, a slow-release protein, may well do the trick.
Below, we shake up your knowledge on one of the UK's most popular supplements and bring you a handful of recommendations to help you unlock new potential. Ready, steady, shake.
Best Casein to Buy in 2023: Our Top 5 Picks
What Is Casein?
Casein is a slow-release protein that's found in milk and in cheese and forms one of two proteins found in these foods. Carrying the same amino acid profile as whey protein, casein protein is actually absorbed at a different rate.
During the processing of milk, casein protein forms a jelly-like substance that, one formed into protein powder, becomes a slow-acting form of protein that drip-feeds your muscles. Whey protein, for example, feeds your muscles at a faster rate. When you consume casein protein, your blood amino acid 'peaks' with your protein synthesis — the rate at which you absorb muscle-building protein — and continues to do so for up to four hours after ingesting.
Casein Protein vs Whey Protein
Casein protein and whey protein are very similar on the surface level, but are quite different a molecular level. While both casein and whey are dairy-based proteins derived from milk, there are some glaring differences.
Firstly, whey protein is considered the faster-acting supplement over casein. Rapidly digested, whey protein is found in the watery portion of milk, is a mixture of protein isolates and is considered a complete protein, housing each of the nine essential amino acids.
Casein protein, on the other hand, is a slow-releasing protein. In other words, after ingestion, your muscles will be 'drip-fed' casein for up to four hours. Casein protein is often considered to be 'anticatabolic' (essentially, kinder on your muscles) as it provides a steadier stream of acids and protein supply to stave off muscle breakdown (going catabolic), while whey protein is rapidly digested by your body.
When Should I Take Casein Protein?
Don't worry — you don't have to cancel your protein order and bin your post-workout shake. Whey protein is still the best supplement to have post-workout. Casein protein, on the other hand, is best taken before bed. As we mentioned, casein drip-feeds your muscles for up to four-hours, making a dream scenario for building muscle, especially when you're dozing. Similarly, if you're intermittent fasting (like any of these five celebrities), casein protein can help stave off hunger pangs before your first meal, as its been found to promote satiety — the feeling of being full.
"Because it’s digested slowly, It’s often taken before bed to give a steady delivery of amino acids for muscle recovery," says Jo Travers, Registered Dietitian and author of The Low-fad Diet. "It also protects muscles from being broken down overnight when you aren’t getting protein from meals."
What Does Science Say About Casein Protein?
A study of 36 males undergoing strength training discovered that the group consuming a whey and casein combination out-performed those who were on a combination of whey, BCAAs and glutamine.
However, a 2006 study on the effects of whey protein vs casein protein on strength and body composition found different results. Studying 13 bodybuilders — each taking 1.5g of whey or casein per kg of bodyweight — the results showed that, after 10 total weeks, the whey group had greater gains in strength. Their squats improved by 75.3 kg (against 52.2 kg) and bench press increased by 48kg against 18.5kg in the casein group.
With that in mind, the latter study concluded "more studies comparing the consumption of whey and casein protein pre- and post-exercise are needed to further determine if and/or how the two protein types differ."
What to Look For in Casein Protein
By now, you know casein's effect on muscle-building, fat-loss and more. If you're ready to invest in casein —the 'bedtime protein' — it pays to know what to look for when it comes to the ingredients.
Protein content: "Look for the protein content per scoop," advises Travers. "You should get around 20g per scoop."
Micellar casein: If you want a top-draw supplement, shop for micellar casein. Most casein proteins will contain micellar. "This is the natural form of casein," says Travers. "What makes it a more slowly digested form as oppose to hydrolysed casein which is more quickly absorbed as it has been processed."
Ingredients: Before investing in casein protein, be sure to read the label of any brand you're interested in. Don't be tempted by click-bait adverts or misleading campaigns — if the casein contains more than seven or eight ingredients, it's not for you. Our list below is sure to help.
The Best Casein Protein
Myprotein Slow-release Casein
Per serving: 107kcal, 23g protein, 1.2g carbohydrates, 0.5g fat
Available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavours, Myprotein's slow-release (micellar) casein has received four out of five starts from customers and mixes well with porridge, baked goods and in shakes.
Bulk Powders Micellar Casein
Per 30g serving: 110kcal, 25.7g protein, 0.9g carbohydrate, 0.45g fat
The lowest in fat and carbohydrate content in this list, Bulk Powders' Micellar Casein is a strong contender. Available in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, it comes with 85% protein, of which there's over 25g per 30g serving.
Optimum Nutrition Casein
Per 33g serving: 115kcal, 24g protein, 3.5 carbohydrates, 0.7g fat
The industry's first all-micellar Casein, Optimum Nutrition Casein contains 24g of slow-digesting casein proteins for muscle support. Add one scoop to water or milk.
Protein Works 100% Micellar Casein
Per 30g serving: 106kcal, 23g protein, 2.1g carbohydrates, 0.6g fat
Protein Works' ultra fine 100% micellar casein protein powder contains 23g of protein per 30g serving and has a smooth and silky texture for adding to shakes, smoothies and baking.
Reflex Nutrition Micellar Casein
Per 33g serving: 116kcal, 24g protein, 3.6g carbohydrates, <0.5g fat
This protein powder consists of 80% micellar casein, 20% native whey, plus friendly bacteria and digestive enzymes.
You Might Also Like