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What types of protein powder are better for athletes?

Yes, there are certain types of protein powder that may be better for athletes than others. Here are some types of protein powder that are often recommended for athletes:

  1. Whey protein: Whey protein is one of the most popular types of protein powder for athletes, and for good reason. It's a complete protein source, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs. It's also rapidly digested and absorbed by the body, making it an ideal post-workout protein source. In fact, research has shown that whey protein supplementation can enhance muscle strength and power when combined with resistance training.
  2. Casein protein: Casein protein is another type of milk protein that is often used by athletes. Unlike whey protein, casein is digested and absorbed more slowly by the body, which can make it a good choice for a pre-bedtime protein source. One study found that casein protein supplementation before sleep improved muscle protein synthesis and overnight recovery in young men.
  3. Collagen protein: Collagen protein is a type of protein that is found in the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals. It's a rich source of the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are important for the structure and function of connective tissues in the body. Collagen protein supplementation may also have benefits for joint health, which can be particularly beneficial for athletes who engage in high-impact activities.
  4. Blended plant-based protein: Blended plant-based protein powders, such as those that combine pea, rice, and hemp protein, are a good option for athletes who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or who have lactose intolerance or milk allergies. These blends of protein sources can provide a complete protein source that contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. While plant-based proteins may take longer for the body to digest and absorb than animal-based proteins, research has shown that blended plant-based protein supplementation can increase muscle thickness and strength, and improve body composition and exercise performance in trained athletes.

It's worth noting that there is no one "best" type of protein powder for all athletes. The best type of protein powder for an individual athlete will depend on their specific goals, dietary needs, and preferences. It's important to choose a high-quality protein powder from a reputable brand, and to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for use.


  1. Cermak NM, Res PT, de Groot LC, Saris WH, van Loon LJ. Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(6):1454-1464. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.037556
  2. Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, et al. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44(8):1560-1569. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363
  3. Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, et al. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008;24(5):1485-1496. doi:10.1185/030079908X291967
  4. Babault N, Païzis C, Deley G, et al. Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(1):3. doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5
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