Have you ever liked the thought of your muscles being fed while you’re asleep?
With casein supplements such as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein, what was thought of as impossible is now possible.
Heck, even icons from the Golden Era of bodybuilding knew they could remain in an anabolic state while sleeping, thanks to cottage cheese and the like.
In today’s supplement age, casein is the type of protein you go for if muscle retention is your goal. Does Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein live up to its hype?
We can’t wait to find out in this review.
About Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein
According to the manufacturer’s official website, “it can take longer for our Gold Standard 100% Casein™ to be broken down into its amino acid subcomponents. By using only premium micellar casein as a protein source, we’ve created a formula that sets the standard for slow-digesting protein support.” Formula notes:
- Twenty-four grams of micellar casein per scoop. Feed your muscles for hours.
- Presence of Aminogen. Digestive enzyme for better absorption of nutrients.
- Comes in nine flavors. Try Banana Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Supreme, Cookies & Cream, Creamy Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Creme, or French Vanilla.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein (4 lbs. Chocolate Supreme) Supplement Facts
Serving Size 1 Heaping Scoop (34 g)
Servings Per Container 53
|Amount Per Serving / % Daily Value*|
|Calories From Fat||10|
|Total Fat||1 g 2%|
|Saturated Fat||0.5 g 3%|
|Trans Fat||0 g|
|Cholesterol||15 mg 5%|
|Sodium||190 mg 8%|
|Total Carbohydrate||3 g 1%|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g 4%|
|Protein||24 g 48%|
Ingredients: Micellar Casein, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Natural And Artificial Flavors, Salt, Gum Blend (Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan), Lecithin, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Aminogen®
Directions For Gold Standard 100% Casein: Using a shaker cup is the easiest and most convenient way to mix up a consistently great casein shake every time. Just add one heaping scoop of Gold Standard 100% Casein™ to a shaker cup filled with 10-12 oz. of your preferred beverage. Cover and shake for 25-30 seconds. TIP: Adjust the intensity of your Gold Standard 100% Casein™ by varying the amount of liquid that you use to prepare it. For a bolder flavor with slightly more body and sweetness, mix one heaping scoop with 8-10 oz. of water, milk, or your favorite beverage. For a milder tasting, less sweet shake, use 12-14 oz. of liquid per scoop.
Truly the Gold Standard for Nighttime Protein
If you’re looking for a quality casein protein supplement (especially if you’re a hard gainer), Optimum Gold Standard 100% Casein may be the product for you.
Let’s be honest, here. Whey is the king of protein because of its high BCAA content and ability to nourish the muscles in rapid-fire fashion. It’s also an ideal snack ingredient.
Plus, it can help maintain healthy blood pressure, boost the immune system, and raise glutathione levels (a potent antioxidant). No wonder some health experts tout whey as a superfood.
However, casein protein is also beneficial. It is known for its muscle retention benefits because of its slow release prowess. Casein can keep you in an anabolic state for up to eight hours. Therefore, it is an ideal supplement to take an hour or so before bedtime.
Casein – which is known for its high calcium content – can also help boost fat loss. It also helps promote colon health. No wonder some consider casein as a high-quality form of protein.
As for Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein, it has 24 grams of protein per serving. Imagine that much protein seeping into your muscles for up to eight hours. Awesome.
We also say the protein content is right on the industry average, which is 20-25 grams of protein per scoop. That’s a major plus.
Since this is a casein supplement, don’t expect any fancy protein matrices. Optimum Nutrition just uses micellar casein – the best of its kind.
One proof of this is micellar casein’s ability to feed the body with leucine, a branched-chain amino acid credited for its fantastic protein synthesis benefits. Some studies revealed the presence of leucine in the bloodstream seven hours after an individual consumed micellar casein.
Now, let’s take a look at the formula ingredients:
- Total fat, 1 g: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein is a low-fat supplement. Clearly, you can get your healthy fats from other sources such as salmon or fish oil.
- Cholesterol, 15 mg: Most protein supplements have at least 50 mg of cholesterol per serving. The manufacturer keeps this product’s cholesterol content to a bare minimum (although not as low as other protein products such as MyProtein Impact Whey Protein).
- Sodium, 190 mg: Honestly, this was the first red flag which caught our eye. Yes, we need sodium for good health. We also need it to control fluid balance in the body and regulate muscle function. However, too much of it (anything more than 1,500 mg. per day, per the American Heart Association) may have adverse effects on individuals with cardiovascular issues. Check with your doctor if you’re one of them before taking this supplement.
- Total carbohydrate, 3 g: Sugars and Aminogen (an enzyme compound account which helps digest the protein better) for two grams of the three grams of carbs per serving. The digestive enzyme content isn’t as much as it is in other protein supplements such as BSN SYNTHA-6, but it’s still a plus. Note that the natural versions of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein have eight grams of carbs per serving. We attribute this to the four grams of sugar from honey powder and stevia.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein has 24 grams of micellar casein per serving. If you think about it, it’s a good dose of essential amino acids and slow-digesting protein which will help spare your muscles.
Like we said, casein supplies your body with leucine, a potent BCAA known for its protein synthesis abilities. Getting these amino acids for up to eight hours sure sounds like a good deal to us.
Another think we like about Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein is that it is low in calories – just 120 per serving. We believe this product will help you build lean muscle mass in conjunction with a good whey protein supplement.
The fat and cholesterol content are pretty low. Carbohydrate content is also kept to a minimum, with sugars accounting for just one gram per serving. The natural flavors have four grams of sugar per serving from stevia and honey powder. It’s great the manufacturer has a natural option.
If you’re having second thoughts about purchasing a product sweetened with sucralose (the sweetening component of Splenda), better go for the natural variety. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener known to help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
We like the fact Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein has Aminogen, the digestive enzyme we told you about.
From a manufacturer’s standpoint, it makes sense. You’re selling a slow-release protein product. You might as well include an ingredient which will help your consumers absorb the ingredients better. Well thought out.
However, the addition of carrageenan caught our eye. It is a food additive which many health experts are suspicious about. They say it may cause ulcers and other immune responses in the digestive system.
The natural variety of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein has no carrageenan. It also has stevia to boot. It is clearly the better purchase (for a comprehensive guide on how to purchase supplements, check this out).
We’re also concerned about the manufacturer’s transparency. Its official website claims it has almost five grams of glutamine per scoop. We didn’t see any hint of glutamine in the ingredients list and label. We’re left scratching our heads.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein Benefits
Optimum Nutrition takes pride in Gold Standard 100% Casein’s 24 grams of “anti-catabolic micellar casein.” The company also highlights the five grams of BCAAs and five grams of glutamine per scoop.
There’s no arguing micellar casein has long been proven to assist in the muscle retention process. It helps muscles remain in an anabolic state for seven to eight hours. Twenty-four grams of micellar casein ought to help consumers achieve their lean muscle building goals.
Who Takes It?
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein is meant for athletes and active individuals who are at least 18 of age and want to build lean muscle and boost their anabolic state.
Any Side Effects?
First off, the 190 grams of sodium per serving may be of some concern to individuals who have cardiovascular issues. While the natural version of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein has no carrageenan and is sweetened with stevia, it has more sodium per serving (270 mg per scoop).
The regular version of this product has carrageenan, which may be detrimental to people who have digestive system concerns.
Bottom line: Check with your physician first if you spot any suspicious ingredient.
Finally, the manufacturer warns consumers not to consider Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein™ as a primary source of nutrition:
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein Summary
- Twenty-four grams of micellar casein. Helps spare muscles for up to eight hours.
- L0w-calorie. Just 120 grams per scoop.
- Stevia for natural version. Best natural sweetener on the market.
- Presence of Aminogen. Digestive enzyme for better absorption of nutrients.
- High sodium content. Check with your doctor first if you have cardiovascular issues.
- Has carrageenan. May be detrimental to the digestive system.
- Lack of transparency. Couldn’t find glutamine on the label and ingredients list.
Pricing & Buying Info
- Three packets (3-Day Supply): $6.99
- 2-lb. container (27-Day Supply): $32.88
- 2-lb. container (natural version, 24-Day Supply): $33.58
- 4-lb. container (55-Day Supply): $53.94
- 4-lb. container (natural version, 48-Day Supply): $54.33
- Available online and in retail
Final Word on Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein has long been considered the benchmark for a product of its kind. It has 24 grams of micellar casein which will feed your muscles for up to seven or eight hours.
Other pluses include a low calorie content, the presence of the digestive enzyme Aminogen, and natural versions which are sweetened with stevia.
On the flip side, the product has a somewhat high sodium content (especially the natural version) and has carrageenan (which may affect the digestive system). The manufacturer also comes up short in its transparency of the glutamine component.
As a parting shot, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein is still a respectable choice despite its flaws. The good news is the product has two versions which cater to every individual’s needs. Choose wisely.