We Have The Answers You're Looking For

Call Us
888-908-8463  9-5 MST Mon-Fri

Email Us
Send us an email
Need Answers?
Check out our FAQs page
Returning Items
See returning instructions

2018's 10 Best
Protein Powder For Women

Among the hundreds of protein powders on the market today, how do you know which are best suited for women and why?

Most articles just cover the basics. Like what sources of protein should you take (eggs, meat, whey, soy, etc.)? Or how much protein should you take? And at what times?

The problem with many of these articles is that they don’t account for the female physiology. So there recommendations may have some general value. But it’s not as helpful for women as an article written for a female audience.

With that in mind, we have written this article to help women choose a good protein powder for their bodies.

Woman

Previous Limited Research On Women In Athletic Studies

Until the 1970s, research on female physiological needs for ahletic training had been limited. The one exception to this was studies about weight loss products and diet. With the passage of Title IX, more and more woman began playing competitive sports. This was most visible at the high school and collegiate levels. And it also helped for development of professional and Olympic athletes.

Even though we have come a long way in the decades since Title IX, research is still playing catch-up. Even when studies focus on women, their cycles are rarely factored into the equation. A lack of women in sports and exercise research may account for some of the bias. [1} But the gap is starting to close, with more information geared for women being made available. See the #1 Protein Powder For Women now

Women’s Biology Vs Men’s (NOT Weaker, Just Different)

A man’s hormone profile remains relatively static (although it slowly declines with age). Women’s hormones fluctuate monthly according to their cycles, which have two phases. The first phase (follicular) is marked by rising Oestradial (estrogen) levels. They peak right around ovulation midway through the cycle. The second phase (luteal) is followed with high levels of progesterone and moderate estrogen levels. They level out right before menstruation.

Estrogen and progesterone have a vital impact on muscle-cell regeneration and protein synthesis. This is especially true when these hormones are at their highest levels. Estrogen impedes protein synthesis, while progesterone increases the breakdown of muscle tissue. This makes it more difficult to utilize amino acids that are needed for muscle growth, recovery, and repair. [2]

This means that women have higher rates of muscle breakdown during physical exertion than men do. At its most simple, it’s just plain harder for women to grow and maintain muscle when these hormones are high.

Menstrual Cycle

Here’s a recap: the “low hormone phase,” or the time during and immediately after your period, muscle building and performance is at it’s highest. During “high hormone phases,” or a few days before a woman’s period, building muscle, recovery, and staying hydrated become more of a challenge.

Leucine Content Is The Key Factor

Women oxidize less amino acids, including leucine (a branched chain amino acid), than men do. This is despite the fact that the muscle enzyme that regulates the use of branched-chained amino acids functions the same for both men and women. [3][4] The high hormone phase of the menstrual cycle also increases the need and use of protein during exercise. This is due to the fact that progesterone contributes to higher muscle breakdown.

So we know a few things. First, estrogen inhibits muscle protein synthesis. Second, progresterone enhances muscle breakdown. And third, women oxidize less amino acids than men. [5]

Given that, studies have determined a recommendation for protein intake in women. Muscle protein synthesis is most optimal in women when approximately 30 grams of protein is consumed post training. [6] Muscle protein synthesis is reliant on muscle leucine concentration. As such, a high leucine content protein source is most beneficial. See the #1 Protein Powder For Women now

Different Types Of Protein Powder

Dietary proteins differ in their amino acid composition as well as rates of digestion and absorption. The essential amino acid content, especially leucine, can promote muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein has an excellent amino acid profie. As such, it results in a greater synthesis of muscle protein compared to most protein sources such as casein and soy.

While whey protein may be the most recommended for muscle building, it is not the only source of protein powder out there. Due to allergens or moral preferences, other forms of protein can be just as useful and beneficial. Here is a list of various protein sources from highest leucine concentration to lowest:

Protein Sources

1. Whey. This includes isolates and concentrates, with isolates having the highest amino acid profile. Whey contributes to a rapid, short lived increase in protein synthesis.

2. Casein. This is another component of milk protein (the most abundant). It has a slower absorption rate, allowing a steady release of amino acids. This is helpful in reducing muscle breakdown.

3. Egg. This is well-suited for those who have dairy allergies or find whey to exacerbate bloating and digestive discomfort. Egg protein powder is typically made from solely the egg whites. It has a decent absorption rate. And it provides many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.

4. Beef. This is also suitable for those who have dairy or egg allergies or those who prefer to eat a more paleolithic or low-carb diet.

5. Pea. This is the plant-based protein with the highest leucine content, along with the nine essential amino acids. It is perfect for those practicing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

6. Rice. This does not contain all essential amino acids, but it is still recommended for those who are vegetarian or vegan. Many rice powders will also have additional quinoa or chia proteins added to offer a more complete amino acid profile.

7. Soy.This is another option for those who have allergies or prefer to eat vegetarian or vegan diets. It is important to keep in mind that soy contains phytoestrogens, which weakly mimics estrogen. However, menopausal women can potentially benefit from phytoestrogen-rich foods. This also applies to women of all ages who have low estrogen levels.

Keep in mind that you can opt for a protein source with lower leucine or overall essential amino acid content. This is because BCAAs and other amino acids can easily be supplemented as well. See The Best BCAAs For Women

Should Carbs Be Avoided When Choosing Protein Powder?

First, you should assess your goals and dietary habits when deciding the carb count of your protein powder. If you’re eating a low carb diet, the obvious choice is to choose a low carb protein powder. If you are trying to lose weight by cutting fat, choosing a lower carb protein powder may also be of benefit. This is especially true if you eat a moderate to high carbohydrate diet.

However, it’s different if your goal is to add muscle mass, increase strength, or have a high intensity training program. In these cases, carbs can be an essential part of any pre, intra, or post-workout formula.

Estrogen decreases the need for liver glycogen. This subsequently increases the use of fat during exercise. This glycogen sparing, increased fat use is even greater during the high hormone phase. To maintain high intensities during workouts, women can benefit from additional carbohydrate intake. [7] During the low hormone phase, women need less dietary carbohydrates for optimal physical performance.

The bottom line? You can look for low-carb protein powders if you follow a low carb diet or are looking to shed some body fat. You can also use a lower carb protein powder during the low hormone phase of your cycle. Needs for carbohydrates are not as high for physical performance at this time. See The Best Low Carb Protein Powders

Protein powders with higher total carbs are more ideal in several situations. These include when you want to add muscle mass, sustain high intensity, or get an extra boost during the high hormone phase. Again, this does not apply to those who eat a low carb diet or are in nutritional ketosis.

You Don’t Need To Sacrifice On Taste

If you choose the right one, a good tasting protein shake can be a post-workout treat to look forward to each day. Not all protein shakes are created equal. And while many be chalky or unappealing, there are some brands out there that get it just right.

Many women are no stranger to food cravings during the high hormone phase. It can range from wanting the sweet to the salty. The verdict is still out on the exact relationship between hormone fluctuations and food cravings. But some studies are presenting interesting insights. Leptin is the hormone that regulates hunger. One study revealed that there may be a relationship between high leptin and estrogen levels and cravings. This is especially true during the high hormone phase. [8]

A great-tasting protein powder is helpful in combating cravings. And there are many that do not rely on high amounts of sugar or artificial flavoring. They can help you stay on track to reach your fitness and physique goals. See the #1 Protein Powder For Women now

Make Your Physiology Work For You

With all this emerging research, it’s time women embrace and understand their physiology. Women are not small men, and the “shrink it and pink it” mentality many supplement companies use is not doing women any favors. Taking the time to learn, and customizing your regimen is the key to optimizing your potential. This may even mean having two rotating protein powders that correspond with each phase of the high and low hormone cycle that align best with your needs.

Bringing It All Together

Woman Drinking Protein

1. High levels of estrogen and progesterone impede muscle building capacity and promote muscle breakdown. Making sure you meet your protein needs is essential for optimal performance.

2. Women also oxidize less leucine than men. And due to their limited capacity to build and maintain muscle during the high hormone phases of their cycle, roughly 30 grams (minimum 20 grams) of protein post-workout is advised for compensation.

3. Leucine content, along with amino acid profiles, is among the most important factor for choosing a protein source.

4. Total carb count is tied to your fitness and lifestyle goals. Higher carb protein powders can be more beneficial during the high hormone phase.

5. Since women have a more complex and diverse physiology, why stick with just one supplement routine? With more information becoming available, customizing plans according to hormone fluctuations can be a great tool to optimize performance.

Best Protein Powder For Women

Our top 10 list of protein powders for women is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality protein powder for women. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.

References

  1. Costello, Joseph T., Francois Bieuzen, and Chris M. Bleakley. Where are all the female participants in Sports and Exercise Medicine research? European Journal of Sport Science 14.8 (2014): 847-851.
  2. Hansen, Mette, and Michael Kjaer. Influence of sex and estrogen on musculotendinous protein turnover at rest and after exercise. Exercise and sport sciences reviews 42.4 (2014): 183-192.
  3. Devries, Michaela C. Sex-based differences in endurance exercise muscle metabolism: impact on exercise and nutritional strategies to optimize health and performance in women. Experimental physiology 101.2 (2016): 243-249.
  4. Roepstorff C, Steffensen CH, Madsen M, et al. Gender differences in substrate utilization during submaximal exercise in endurance-trained subjects Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2002; 282 (2): E435-47.
  5. Tarnopolsky MA Sex differences in exercise metabolism and the role of 17-beta estradiol. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2008; 40 (4): 648-54.
  6. Hausswirth C. and Le Murr Y. Physiological and Nutritional Aspects of Post-Exercise Recovery: Specific recommendations for female athletes. Sports Med, 2011; 41(10): 861-882.
  7. Rehrer, Nancy J., Rebecca T. McLay-Cooke, and Stacy T. Sims. Nutritional Strategies and Sex Hormone Interactions in Women. Sex Hormones, Exercise and Women. Springer International Publishing, 2017. 87-112.
  8. Krishnan, Sridevi, et al. Estradiol, SHBG and leptin interplay with food craving and intake across the menstrual cycle. Physiology & behavior 165 (2016): 304-312.

#1 - Gym Vixen Whey

The Standout: High-Quality Protein Isolate

Specifically designed to be a premium protein choice for women, Gym Vixen's Whey is a low-calorie formula that contains the micronutrients that are beneficial for creating a healthy physique. With zero carbs, fats, and sugar, along with 24 grams of high-quality protein isolate, Gym Vixen Whey is the perfect lean muscle builder and post-workout recovery supplement.

  • 24 Grams Protein Isolate
  • 96 Calories
  • Zero Carbs, Fats, And Sugars
  • Contains Digestive Enzymes
  • Great Tasting

Whey Protein Isolate is made from standard whey concentrate and has been further processed for the removal of excess carbs and fats, yielding a product with higher protein content (roughly 98%). This also means a more rapid digestion process compared to whey concentrate.

Lactase, a beneficial enzyme for breaking down the lactose found in whey, has been added to also aid in digestion. While many other protein powders may cause bloating or digestive discomfort, lactase helps reduce these symptoms.

Gym Vixen's Whey is the perfect protein powder designed for women, with no extra carbs or fats, and it doesn't compromise on taste. Meet all your protein needs while combating any sweet cravings, all in one product.

Keep Reading »

The Standout: High-Quality Protein Isolate

Specifically designed to be a premium protein choice for women, Gym Vixen's Whey is a low-calorie formula that contains the micronutrients that are beneficial for creating a healthy physique. With zero carbs, fats, and sugar, along with 24 grams of high-quality protein isolate, Gym Vixen Whey is the perfect lean muscle builder and post-workout recovery supplement.

  • 24 Grams Protein Isolate
  • 96 Calories
  • Zero Carbs, Fats, And Sugars
  • Contains Digestive Enzymes
  • Great Tasting

Whey Protein Isolate is made from standard whey concentrate and has been further processed for the removal of excess carbs and fats, yielding a product with higher protein content (roughly 98%). This also means a more rapid digestion process compared to whey concentrate.

Lactase, a beneficial enzyme for breaking down the lactose found in whey, has been added to also aid in digestion. While many other protein powders may cause bloating or digestive discomfort, lactase helps reduce these symptoms.

Gym Vixen's Whey is the perfect protein powder designed for women, with no extra carbs or fats, and it doesn't compromise on taste. Meet all your protein needs while combating any sweet cravings, all in one product.

Keep Reading »

#2 - Whey Protein Isolate

The Standout: Top Tier, Affordable Price

Nutricost's high quality Whey Protein Isolate delivers an impressive 30 grams of protein per scoop with their straightforward, single-ingredient formula. It is also one of the most fairly-priced isolate protein powders on the market. Nutricost's Whey Isolate Protein is also perfect for stacking and customizing any pre or post-workout blend that suits your needs best.

  • 30 Grams Per Serving
  • High Quality Isolate
  • 2 Lb Bottle Size
  • No Artificial Flavoring
  • Zero Added Sugars

Nutricost Whey Isolate Protein is a clean protein source, made with high quality protein isolate. Protein isolate is easy to digest, low in lactose, and contains no additional fat or carbs. Providing a high level of branched-chain amino acids, each serving promotes protein synthesis and lean muscle growth.

Whey isolate protein also helps boost the immune system by promoting glutathione levels, known as the "master antioxidant" within the body. Glutathione is responsible for intracellular health, and protects cells from free radicals and oxidative damage.

Unbeatable quality for the price, easy to mix, and great for stacking, it's easy to see why Nutricost's Protein Isolate has over 100 high ratings on Amazon.

Keep Reading »

The Standout: Top Tier, Affordable Price

Nutricost's high quality Whey Protein Isolate delivers an impressive 30 grams of protein per scoop with their straightforward, single-ingredient formula. It is also one of the most fairly-priced isolate protein powders on the market. Nutricost's Whey Isolate Protein is also perfect for stacking and customizing any pre or post-workout blend that suits your needs best.

  • 30 Grams Per Serving
  • High Quality Isolate
  • 2 Lb Bottle Size
  • No Artificial Flavoring
  • Zero Added Sugars

Nutricost Whey Isolate Protein is a clean protein source, made with high quality protein isolate. Protein isolate is easy to digest, low in lactose, and contains no additional fat or carbs. Providing a high level of branched-chain amino acids, each serving promotes protein synthesis and lean muscle growth.

Whey isolate protein also helps boost the immune system by promoting glutathione levels, known as the "master antioxidant" within the body. Glutathione is responsible for intracellular health, and protects cells from free radicals and oxidative damage.

Unbeatable quality for the price, easy to mix, and great for stacking, it's easy to see why Nutricost's Protein Isolate has over 100 high ratings on Amazon.

Keep Reading »

#3 - Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED

Clean, Grass-Fed Protein Source

Transparent Labs' ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED consists of high-quality ingredients and transparency, with only 112 calories. Each scoop offers 28 grams of grass-fed protein isolate sourced from New Zealand, while being one of the industry’s highest protein-by-weight ratios at 88%.

  • 28 Grams Of Grass-Fed Protein Isolate
  • 112 Total Calories
  • 30 Servings Per Bag
  • 88% Protein-By-Weight Ratio
  • Free Of Gluten, Preservatives, And Hormones

Grass-fed protein is quickly becoming the preferred source of protein, and Transparent Labs source their protein from New Zealand. New Zealand is one of the leading dairy producers in the world, and to retain the utmost quality, their cows do not receive chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, hyper-immunizations, or injected pathogens. These dairy herds graze on healthy pesticide-free, chemical-free, natural grass pastures all year.

If you're searching for one of the cleanest protein powders out there, Transparent Labs' ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED more than fits the bill. Build lean muscle with the cleanest protein made from naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey and clean of artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives.

Keep Reading »

Clean, Grass-Fed Protein Source

Transparent Labs' ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED consists of high-quality ingredients and transparency, with only 112 calories. Each scoop offers 28 grams of grass-fed protein isolate sourced from New Zealand, while being one of the industry’s highest protein-by-weight ratios at 88%.

  • 28 Grams Of Grass-Fed Protein Isolate
  • 112 Total Calories
  • 30 Servings Per Bag
  • 88% Protein-By-Weight Ratio
  • Free Of Gluten, Preservatives, And Hormones

Grass-fed protein is quickly becoming the preferred source of protein, and Transparent Labs source their protein from New Zealand. New Zealand is one of the leading dairy producers in the world, and to retain the utmost quality, their cows do not receive chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, hyper-immunizations, or injected pathogens. These dairy herds graze on healthy pesticide-free, chemical-free, natural grass pastures all year.

If you're searching for one of the cleanest protein powders out there, Transparent Labs' ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED more than fits the bill. Build lean muscle with the cleanest protein made from naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey and clean of artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives.

Keep Reading »

#4 - FitMiss Delight

FitMiss Delight is a complete protein shake designed specifically for women. It is especially helpful for women who are trying to lose weight, as it only contains 16 grams of protein and only 90 calories per serving. It also features SolaThin, which is a potato-based protein that helps with appetite control, as well as a numerous other vitamins and minerals to support general health. Keep Reading »
FitMiss Delight is a complete protein shake designed specifically for women. It is especially helpful for women who are trying to lose weight, as it only contains 16 grams of protein and only 90 calories per serving. It also features SolaThin, which is a potato-based protein that helps with appetite control, as well as a numerous other vitamins and minerals to support general health. Keep Reading »

#5 - IdealFit IdealLean

A protein shake made specifically for women, IdealFit's IdealLean provides 20 grams of 100% Whey Protein Isolate in each serving to increase lean muscle mass. Containing the unique IdealFit Recovery Blend that uses L-Glutamine, Acai, Mangosteen, and Blueberry, IdealLean can help you quickly recover from each training session, earning you your best results. This deliciously smooth 80-calorie protein shake keeps you lean without any excess fat, sugar, or carbs. Keep Reading »
A protein shake made specifically for women, IdealFit's IdealLean provides 20 grams of 100% Whey Protein Isolate in each serving to increase lean muscle mass. Containing the unique IdealFit Recovery Blend that uses L-Glutamine, Acai, Mangosteen, and Blueberry, IdealLean can help you quickly recover from each training session, earning you your best results. This deliciously smooth 80-calorie protein shake keeps you lean without any excess fat, sugar, or carbs. Keep Reading »

#6 - Quest Nutrition Protein Powder

Quest Nutrition Protein Powder is designed with the highest-quality protein sources for customized low-carb clean eating in an irresistible protein shake. This powder serves 23 grams of premium whey and casein proteins, with only 110 calories, 4 grams carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of sugar. Quest Protein is gluten and soy-free, and mixes easily with any of your favorite beverages – even water – and the creamy, rich flavor profiles will have you satisfied. Quest Protein Powder is also perfect for cooking and baking, so you can make protein-rich meals and treats. Keep Reading »
Quest Nutrition Protein Powder is designed with the highest-quality protein sources for customized low-carb clean eating in an irresistible protein shake. This powder serves 23 grams of premium whey and casein proteins, with only 110 calories, 4 grams carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of sugar. Quest Protein is gluten and soy-free, and mixes easily with any of your favorite beverages – even water – and the creamy, rich flavor profiles will have you satisfied. Quest Protein Powder is also perfect for cooking and baking, so you can make protein-rich meals and treats. Keep Reading »

#7 - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

As Optimum Nutrition's top-selling protein powder, Gold Standard 100% Whey provides whey protein isolate as its primary ingredient, along with ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate, so you can achieve a strong, feminine physique. Packing 24 grams of protein into each serving, this powerful formula gives muscles the support they need to encourage growth and strength, as well as reduce fat stores. Gold Standard 100% whey also provides over 5 grams of BCAAs as well as more than 4 grams of glutamine and glutamic acid for optimal muscle growth and recovery. Keep Reading »
As Optimum Nutrition's top-selling protein powder, Gold Standard 100% Whey provides whey protein isolate as its primary ingredient, along with ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate, so you can achieve a strong, feminine physique. Packing 24 grams of protein into each serving, this powerful formula gives muscles the support they need to encourage growth and strength, as well as reduce fat stores. Gold Standard 100% whey also provides over 5 grams of BCAAs as well as more than 4 grams of glutamine and glutamic acid for optimal muscle growth and recovery. Keep Reading »

#8 - NLA for Her Her Whey

NLA for Her's Her Whey has created the ultimate lean protein formula, designed to meet the nutritional needs of women. Each scoop provides 28 grams of whey protein isolate with every low-calorie and gluten free serving, ensuring that all macronutrients will be met to help build lean muscle composition, reduce hunger cravings, and improve muscle recovery. Her Whey also enhances performance with additional vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and provides a combination of fiber and MCTs to promote satiety and energy that lasts throughout the day. Keep Reading »
NLA for Her's Her Whey has created the ultimate lean protein formula, designed to meet the nutritional needs of women. Each scoop provides 28 grams of whey protein isolate with every low-calorie and gluten free serving, ensuring that all macronutrients will be met to help build lean muscle composition, reduce hunger cravings, and improve muscle recovery. Her Whey also enhances performance with additional vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and provides a combination of fiber and MCTs to promote satiety and energy that lasts throughout the day. Keep Reading »

#9 - BPI Sports Best Protein

Best Protein is an advanced 100% whey protein blend featuring whey isolate, whey concentrate, and whey hydrolysate. Packed into each serving of Best Protein is 24 grams protein and 5.5 grams BCAAs with only 3 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fat, and 120 calories. You won’t find any fillers or added sugars that will compromise your nutritional goals, just pure nutrition for protein synthesis and muscle growth. BPI Best Protein is the perfect addition to any fitness regimen, whether your goal is to build lean muscle and strength, or retain muscle during weight loss. Keep Reading »
Best Protein is an advanced 100% whey protein blend featuring whey isolate, whey concentrate, and whey hydrolysate. Packed into each serving of Best Protein is 24 grams protein and 5.5 grams BCAAs with only 3 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fat, and 120 calories. You won’t find any fillers or added sugars that will compromise your nutritional goals, just pure nutrition for protein synthesis and muscle growth. BPI Best Protein is the perfect addition to any fitness regimen, whether your goal is to build lean muscle and strength, or retain muscle during weight loss. Keep Reading »

#10 - Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder

Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder provides 25 grams of pure whey protein isolate with zero carbs. Additional vitamins and minerals have also been added to promote overall health, along with added glutamine for optimal recovery. Each batch goes through a microfiltration process, and it is the only clear milk protein (when dissolved in water) on the market. Keep Reading »
Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder provides 25 grams of pure whey protein isolate with zero carbs. Additional vitamins and minerals have also been added to promote overall health, along with added glutamine for optimal recovery. Each batch goes through a microfiltration process, and it is the only clear milk protein (when dissolved in water) on the market. Keep Reading »

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Copyright 2018 © eSupplements.com -- All Rights Reserved

Customer Reviews