The best muscle building protein drink available

After siphoning through several research papers and experimenting with numerous protein formula’s I found the answer…

 “What is the best protein drink for gaining muscle?”

I will briefly go over the common protein powder sources that are highly available and readily used by most health and fitness enthusiast. I WILL NOT expand too much on each type of protein as this article isn’t a long winded “fact sheet.”

Most people involved in the health/fitness and Bodybuilding industry are all too familiar with whey protein, namely whey protein concentrate (WPC) & whey protein isolate (WPI). Both of these whey proteins are considered “fast digesting” and have a high biological value (91). WPI & WPC are typically used pre & post training or anytime someone needs a fast and efficient protein source in their body.

Also highly sought after are the “slower digesting proteins” such as calcium caseinate and micellar casein, with a slightly lower biological value than WPI &WPC (77). These milk proteins are highly regarded as “night time” protein for their slow and steady amino acid delivery.

Recently, peptide based proteins have generated a lot of buzz due to their potential to be rapidly taken up into the blood stream, virtually by-passing the digestion process.Whey protein hydrolysate and casein hydrolysate (PeptoPro) are the 2 proteins that fall into this category. These hydrolyzed versions of whey and casein contain fragments of protein chains composed of 2-3 amino acids (di, tri & oligo) which are instantaneously absorbed and elevate blood
amino acid levels sky high.

A recent study compared both whey and casein and their effects on muscle protein synthesis (MPS) following resistance training.

The study used 17 healthy, young males as test subjects. They were devoid of medical ailments and were all in great physical condition. The subjects were randomized to participate in either 2 protein trials in randomized order or one control trial. protein trial group, 9 men and control trial group, 8 men.

The subjects came into the test facility all in a fasted state and underwent heavy resistance training consisting of 10 sets of 8 repetitions at a predetermined load corresponding to 80% of 1RM.

Post exercise, (within 5 minutes) the participants consumed either water, casein or whey protein.

The amount of protein ingested was 20 grams dissolved into 400 ml of water.

Some cool observations were notated –

Researchers found that whey protein –

  • Spiked IGF-1 concentrations instantly and peaked at 30  minutes
  • Spiked insulin concentrations from 15 – 60 minutes
  • Elicited a Stronger myofibrillar FSR increase immediately post exercise
  • Induces a stronger protein synthesis response in the early post workout period compared to casein

Researchers found that casein protein

  • Did not have profound effects on insulin release
  • Elevated myofibrillar FSR steadily over 6h period opposed to whey
  • Had better anti-catabolic effects than whey protein

On a side note:

The same study did touch base on some fascinating information regarding micellar casein and whey & casein hydrolysates.

Whey hydrolysate elicited an even greater initial spike in muscle protein synthesis FSR than regular whey.

Micellar casein elicited an even slower and longer lasting muscle protein synthesis FSR compared to regular casein.

The very slow micellar casein and the very fast casein hydrolysate (PeptoPro) results in SIMILAR muscle protein synthesis response in the 6h postprandial period, with the casein hydrolysate having the largest MPS response in the early stages.

The conclusion of the study was obvious in the fact that whey initially
spiked MPS immediately and then quickly plummeted downward after the initial spike,
casein spiked MPS more moderately with a more prolonged elevation as time
passed. Immediate intake of whey and casein following heavy resistance training
in young men results in SIMILAR MPS response over the subsequent 6-h recovery

Now – Back to the question of “What is the best protein drink for gaining muscle?”

From my research and personal, empirical experience I believe it is in one’s best interest to utilize a protein supplement that contains a ratio of 50% cold-filtered whey protein isolate & 35% micellar casein or Australian caseinate, and 15% hydrolyzed whey peptides.

Combining both FAST and SLOW assimilating, high quality protein sources have yielded the best results for not only me, but clients as well. You get the benefit of initial high blood amino acid levels and insulinogenic response from whey protein isolate & hydrolyzed whey peptides, then the micellar casein or Australian caseinate sustains blood amino acid levels for up to 7 hours, which elicits an anti-catabolic effect.

Australian Casein Benefits
  • Superior Amino Acid Profile compared to regular casein
  • Higher Glutamine Content compared to regular casein
  • 4.5% Higher Protein Content compared to regular casein
  • Superior Solubility compared to regular casein (mix with a spoon)

I also find it advantageous to consume casein hydrolysate (PeptoPro) DURING your training session to keep blood amino acid levels elevated while not disrupting your gastro-intestinal tract, due to peptide proteins being pre-digested.


1.    Calbet JA, Holst JJ. Gastric emptying, gastric secretion and enterogastrone response after administration of milk proteins or their peptide hydrolysates in humans. Eur J Nutr. 2004 Jun;43(3):127-39. Epub 2004 Jan 6.

2.    Koopman R, Crombach N, Gijsen AP, Walrand S, Fauquant J, Kies AK, Lemosquet S, Saris WH, Boirie Y, van Loon LJ. Ingestion of a protein hydrolysate is accompanied by an accelerated in vivo digestion and absorption rate when compared with its intact protein. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):106-15. Epub 2009 May 27.

3.    Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Sep;107(3):987-92. Epub 2009 Jul 9.

4.     Paul J. Cribb; Andrew D. Williams; Michael F. Carey; Alan Hayes Full Article Table of Contents for Vol. 16, Iss. 5 The Effect of Whey Isolate and Resistance Training on Strength, Body Composition, and Plasma Glutamine.  IJSNEM, 16(5), October 2006, Copyright © 2006

5.     Beelen M, Koopman R, Gijsen AP, Vandereyt H, Kies AK, Kuipers H, Saris WH, van Loon LJ. Protein coingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis during resistance-type exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;295(1):E70-7. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


10 Responses to The best muscle building protein drink available

  1. drags7 says:

    good read…great references too, worth checking out the full PDFs

  2. abnranger says:

    I hope this is not to forward, but off the top of yours or anyone’s for that matter, which protein do you know has that combination. Seems like walking into a supplement shop and asking that might not yield good results. I will try and see and what happens. In the mean time maybe someone will post one they know of that meets that criteria. BTW, great article.

    • eelston03 says:

      i was a huge fan of probolic sr from mhp.  it has fast and slow diegesting proteins and doesnt taste too bad either.  im actually starting to take a mass gainer protein now but probolic is still my favorite.  hope that helped

  3. sgtmoe31 says:

    I am trying to lose body weight and get cut but it is harder to do in a combat zone is there any tips that you could give me. thanks much.

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