Last updated: September 6, 2020

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Choosing a protein supplement is a straightforward task for most people. Products based on whey or casein are the order of the day and are the first choice of sportsmen and nutritionists. But what if, for whatever reason, you couldn’t take these two well-known supplements?

In this new supplement guide article, we’ll introduce you to an alternative to whey and casein that has come to stay. Pea protein is a hypoallergenic, vegan-friendly supplement that adapts to a wide variety of diets and has nothing to envy from other nutritional supplements. Want to know more? Keep reading!

Key Facts

  • The pea protein is a supplement obtained from a legume, the yellow pea. Pea protein supplements can be used by vegans or people intolerant to gluten, lactose or soy. Its protein profile is similar to whey or casein.
  • When purchasing a pea protein product, we must ensure that it is free of pesticides and heavy metals. We will also pay attention to its packaging, its expiry date and its price-quality ratio.
  • Although pea protein provides low levels of the essential amino acid methionine, its high levels of arginine make it the perfect product for people who want to preserve their cardiovascular health.

Our Selection: The Best Pea Protein Supplements on the U.S. Market

We have created this Ranking with the five best pea protein supplements available on the Amazon market. Our team has taken into account the composition of each product, its value for money, and the opinions of previous buyers before making this list. Here you will find the best articles according to our criteria.

The Best Tasting Pea Protein Supplement

This pea protein supplement will delight the sweet tooth. Its vanilla flavor is reminiscent of some very well-known chocolates with hazelnuts, although this delicious aroma is achieved by adding sweeteners. You can only enjoy all the advantages of this product if you have not eliminated the flavors from your diet.

Undoubtedly, most consumers praise the taste of this pea protein supplement. Its texture is also delightful, dissolving without difficulty in liquids. Besides, it is a product free of transgenics, pesticides, and heavy metals. It can be used as an energizing shake before training or as part of post-training recovery.

The Best Pea Protein Supplement With the Most Antioxidants

If you are looking for a pure pea protein supplement free of any additive, we recommend this “superfood” from Energy Feelings. Each package contains one kilo of pea protein powder with no sugars, sweeteners, or trans fats. This article is perfect for people who want to supplement it in the most natural way possible.

Most buyers are delighted with this product. Its taste is mild for most, dissolving quickly in soups (the manufacturer advises not to use it in hot foods to avoid loss of properties) and smoothies. However, some people criticize packaging (transparent, weak, and non-biodegradable).

The Best Pea Protein Supplement at the Best Value

The neutralizing brand combines attractive, long-lasting packaging with a sweetener-free supplement. This 100% natural pea protein has been awarded the coveted “Amazon’s Choice,” which signals it as a safe purchase for anyone who wants to improve their body composition effectively and healthily.

Most of the comments on this article are very positive. The origin of the peas in this supplement (Canada) and their quality seals make it possible for users to take this article with all health guarantees. It does not produce stomach pain (widespread with other supplements) and provides a pleasant feeling of satiety.

The Best Bulk Option of Pea Protein

Healthy Tree Co. shows its concern for the environment. In addition to offering 100% natural pea protein, it packs it in a fully biodegradable package. As if this were not enough, this English company will devote part of its profits to the project “Trees For Life,” which is concerned with preserving the Caledonian Forest of Scotland.

This supplement accumulates outstanding scores. Its versatility (it can be used for cooking or taken dissolved in liquids), its fine texture and purity make it the favorite of many. However, some people criticize the origin of peas (China, a country whose food controls often do not coincide with European standards).

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Pea Protein

Pea protein is a perfect alternative to popular nutritional supplements such as whey and casein. This product has an optimal amino acid profile for diets and muscle mass gain and can be used by vegans, coeliacs, and lactose intolerant.

Vegan people who want to increase their muscle mass will benefit from pea protein intake.
(Source: Kachmar: 76174549/ 123rf.com)

What is pea protein?

Pea protein is a nutritional supplement obtained from a type of legume known as a yellow pea. During the processing of the supplement, unnecessary elements (fibre and starches) are removed and a product is obtained, usually in powder form. One tablespoon (about 20 grams) of pea protein contains:

  • 80 calories
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates
  • 15 grams of protein
  • 1.5 grams of fat
  • 5 milligrams of iron
  • 230 milligrams of sodium
  • 30 milligrams of calcium
  • 70 milligrams of potassium
  • 15 milligrams of magnesium

Pea protein supplements stand out for their contribution of eight of the nine essential amino acids. These compounds are essential for the formation of proteins in the body and must be obtained through a healthy diet. In the following table you will find the complete profile of the essential amino acids per 100 grams of product:

Amino acids Amount of amino acid (grams) Recommended Daily Intake (grams) Percentage of RDA (%)
Histidine 1,5 1,5 100 %
Isoleucine 3,2 3 107 %
Leucine 6,4 5,9 108 %
Lysine 5,2 4,5 116 %
Methionine 1 3,8 26 %
Phenylalanine 4 3,8 105 %
Treonine 3 2,3 130 %
Tryptophan 1,1 0,6 183 %
Valine 3,9 3,9 100 %

As you can see, pea protein is able to provide a complete supply of all essential amino acids except methionine. Fortunately, this nutrient is very abundant in animal foods and cereals such as rice, so solving any possible imbalance will be very easy.

These amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, and valine, also known as branched-chain amino acids or BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids). BCAAs are carbon-rich compounds that promote muscle formation, making them an essential addition to any sports supplement.

What are pea protein supplements for?

Pea protein, like other amino acid-rich supplements, can be incorporated into our diet to help us achieve different goals. Weight loss and muscle mass gain are the main benefits that can be attributed to this supplement, although there are other advantages associated with pea protein:

  • Weight management: A sufficient daily protein intake has been shown to result in a greater sense of satiety. Thus, pea protein would contribute to the loss of body mass or the maintenance of a healthy weight.
  • Muscle mass gain: The increase in muscle mass requires an extra supply of amino acids (especially BCAA leucine, isoleucine, and valine). The combination of branched amino acids present in pea protein and physical exercise will favor muscle fiber growth.
  • Recovery after physical exercise: The pea protein will also enhance the recovery of the body after intense training. This product can be taken before or after physical exercise and will help to reduce the frequency of injuries, muscle aches and cramps.
  • Nutritional supplement: Some people may have difficulty meeting daily nutritional requirements. The elderly, people with poor appetite, and vegans may suffer from nutritional protein deficiencies that will worsen their overall well-being. Pea protein can be added to foods to increase their nutritional value.
  • Improvement of cardiovascular health: The pea protein is rich in the amino acid arginine. This compound is necessary for a correct dilation of the blood vessels, favoring the flow of blood and contributing to maintaining cardiovascular health.
  • Depletion of cholesterol: The protein of peas are low in saturated fats and rich in antioxidant compounds that could improve the cholesterol profile, favoring the decrease of the known as “bad cholesterol” or LDL.
  • Antioxidant effect on the skin: Some sources say that the high antioxidant content of pea protein could combat skin deterioration by improving its appearance.
  • Fatigue reduction: The function of amino acids in our organism is invaluable. These “building blocks” are necessary for many chemical reactions. Your deficit will cause fatigue and discomfort. A pea protein supplement is a great option to combat the symptoms of this deficiency.

In short, pea protein is a nutritional supplement that will help you meet those goals that require a modification of your usual diet. You can use this product to gain or lose weight, recover before training, or to improve your overall health. It’s up to you!

The pea protein is synthesized from the yellow pea extract and not from the green pea we all know.
(Source: Zerbor: 20243478/ 123rf.com)

What is the difference between pea protein and other protein supplements?

The effectiveness of whey and casein has been more than proven over the years. With these two bodybuilding allies present in our arsenal of supplemental items, what might be the need for alternatives such as pea protein? The truth is that this supplement has special characteristics:

  • Healthy as plant protein: Pea protein belongs to the group of plant protein supplements. The consumption of these articles has been related to the loss of fat, with an improvement of the state of health and with an optimal contribution of vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Effective as animal protein: Generally, animal protein supplements (such as whey and casein) have higher absorption and efficacy than vegetable protein. However, pea protein comes very close to the profile of these supplementation articles, equaling whey in muscle mass gain.
  • Light digestion protein: As it is free of lactose, gluten and soya, the digestion of pea protein is facilitated, which allows it to be included in almost any diet plan.
  • Slow absorption protein: The slow absorption of pea protein in the digestive tract makes this supplement perfect for taking at night, helping to maintain amino acid levels in the blood high enough to ensure muscle repair and growth.
  • Vegan option for bulking protein:Whey and casein are synthesized from dairy products, so vegans can not exploit their potential as bodybuilding supplements. In contrast, pea protein is a perfect choice for fitness enthusiasts who do not wish to include animal elements in their diet.
  • Great taste: Many consumers say that the taste of pea protein is much more pleasant compared to other supplements, being possible to add it to shakes, juices, and soups without adversely affecting the taste of the dish.

If you’re looking for an item that allows you to improve your body composition, pea protein is a comparable alternative to the most popular supplements. In the following table we have summarised the main differences between this protein, whey, and casein, allowing you to make an informed choice as to which supplement best suits your lifestyle:

Pea protein Whey Casein
Protein Vegetable Animal Animal
Apta for vegans Yes No (there are options for lactovegetarians) No (there are options for lactovegetarians)
Lactose Lactose-free Contains lactose Contains lactose
Absorption Slow Fast Slow
BCAAs 24 g of BCAA per 100 g of product Contribution of 32 g of BCAA per 100 g of product Contribution of 20 g of BCAA per 100 g of product
Advantages High contribution of arginine and antioxidants May increase immunoglobulin synthesis and improve immunity Contribution of bioactive elements (antioxidants, digestive and anticoagulants)
Additional nutrients Additional iron contribution Contribution of vitamin A Contribution of calcium and phosphorus
Flavor Mild to vegetables Neutral or slightly bitter Milk”
Medication interactions No drug interactions described Drug interactions with quinolones, tetracyclines, levodopa, and alendronate Drug interactions with quinolones, tetracyclines, levodopa, and alendronate
Price per 100 grams 3 $ 2 $ 3.5 $

Keep your usual medication in mind before opting for a pea protein, whey, or casein supplement. Milk-derived supplements may interfere with some drugs (antibiotics, thyroid hormone drugs, and drugs for osteoporosis). These interactions with pea protein have not been described.

Whey’s undeniable virtues and competitive price indeed make it the “king of supplements.” However, those who cannot enjoy this product (vegans, lactose intolerant, and allergic people and chronically ill people) will find in pea protein a perfect substitute at a reasonable cost.

Karen CollinsNutritionist. Communicator for the American Cancer Society

“Now that protein has taken center stage, pea protein supplements offer a healthy option. Traditionally, an attempt was made to increase protein intake by consuming larger portions of meat. Excess red and processed meat has been shown to increase the risk of cancer and other chronic conditions.”

What are the disadvantages of pea protein supplements?

Although pea protein supplements offer multiple benefits, it’s a good idea to be aware of their major weaknesses. Fortunately, these disadvantages can be easily overcome and should not pose a problem for supplementation in most people. You can find more information on this in the list below:

  • Low levels of methionine: Previously, we explained that pea protein supplements provide a low amount of methionine. This essential amino acid, necessary for protein formation and cardiovascular well-being, is found in foods of animal origin, in cereals and some legumes such as chickpeas.
  • The pea protein may contain elevated levels of sodium (up to 390 milligrams per serving). It is not recommended to consume more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day, reducing this amount to 1500 milligrams in hypertension. People who want to control their blood pressure should limit sodium intake during supplementation.
  • Phytic acid supply: Phytic acid is an antioxidant compound that decreases the likelihood of some types of cancer. However, it also acts by inhibiting the absorption of iron. People suffering from a deficiency of this mineral should add foods rich in vitamin C to counteract this effect.
  • Cross hypersensitivity phenomena: Pea protein can obviously not be used by those allergic to peas. However, there is a minimal risk that individuals allergic to other legumes (such as chickpeas or beans) may develop an allergy to this supplement. This phenomenon is known as “cross hypersensitivity.”

Careful planning of our diet will avoid the excesses or deficiencies related to the consumption of pea protein. If you are allergic to any other legumes, you may need to see your doctor and discuss the possibility of cross-reactions before starting supplementation.

If we compare the advantages and disadvantages of pea protein supplements, we find that the positive aspects of these articles far outweigh the possible weak points. By way of summary, we’ve created a table of pros and cons that you can use to decide if your pea protein fits you:

In favor Against
vegan protein Low in methionine
Gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, seafood-free High sodium content
Easy digestion Possible cross-sensitivity reactions
Slow release of amino acids May impede absorption of iron
Low in saturated fat
Rich in BCAA
Rich in antioxidants
Iron supply
Pleasant texture
Mild taste

How do I take my pea protein supplement?

Pea protein supplements are straightforward to use and can be adapted to any diet or lifestyle. Normally, following the manufacturer’s instructions will be more than sufficient to achieve the desired results. Still, in the following paragraphs, we’ll help you optimize pea protein supplementation to the maximum:

  • Most studies have found an increase in muscle mass by using doses of 25 grams of pea protein twice daily (a total of 50 grams per day). For weight maintenance or an increase in satiety, a single dose of 25-30 grams per day is recommended.
  • At what time? If you want to increase muscle mass, it is recommended to divide the dose throughout the day (preferably in two doses) and ingest it in the two hours before or after physical exercise. To promote muscle recovery throughout the night, one of these doses can be taken before going to sleep.
  • With or without food? Generally, pea protein is added to hot or cold drinks, shakes, or soups. If you want to boost the absorption of iron, it is recommended to accompany it with foods rich in vitamin C (such as fruit juices or citrus).
  • Can I use it for cooking? It is possible to use pea protein powder as a thickener for broths and purees, or as flour for baking brownies, muffins and other sweets. Some people add it to homemade ice cream and pudding.
  • Can children or pregnant women take pea protein? This supplement has been used by minors and pregnant women without any harmful effects. However, it is recommended to consult a nutrition specialist before starting any supplementation in these people.

Finally, we must remind you of the importance of not exceeding the maximum dose of 5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day. Excessive consumption of pea protein supplements (or any other type of protein) can lead to an accumulation of amino acid degradation products (such as ammonia).

Too high levels of ammonia in the blood can cause nausea and diarrhea in previously healthy people. People with chronic kidney or liver disease may suffer more severe consequences, such as brain damage, coma, and even death. However, these problems will not arise if responsible use is made of this supplement.

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Did you know that it is recommended to store pea supplements in a cool, dry place, but never in the refrigerator or freezer?

Purchase Criteria

If you want to choose the best pea protein supplement, you must take into account several key characteristics that will be responsible for the final quality of the article. We have summarized the most important properties in five purchase criteria that will be useful when purchasing a new item:

Pesticides and Heavy Metals

Before buying a pea protein product, carefully examine the labeling. Make sure yellow peas have been grown on soil free of heavy metals and without exposure to chemical pesticides. Otherwise, you could end up consuming large amounts of toxins that endanger your health.

The pea protein is rich in arginine, an amino acid necessary for cardiovascular health.
(Source: Kostrez: 65331528/ 123rf.com)

Form of Presentation

The most popular presentation format for pea protein supplements is powder, which must be dissolved in some liquid before being ingested. However, you should know that you can also find this product in the form of capsules, a quick and clean option, but less flexible when it comes to customizing our dose.

Dr. Josh AxeNaturopath and Nutritionist

“Pea protein is not only beneficial to your waist; it has also been shown to preserve cardiovascular health.

Packaging

Pea protein supplements are created with the demands of the most environmentally and animal-friendly consumers in mind. Many of these items are packaged in biodegradable or recycled containers. Confirm the strength of these packages, especially if you plan to purchase your product over the Internet.

Expiration Date

The pea protein powder expires approximately two years after its manufacture. From that date, the supplement begins to lose properties, decreasing its effectiveness progressively. Eating expired pea protein is not toxic, but it is useless. Confirm the expiry date of your supplement before making the purchase.

Price/Quality Ratio

The cost of a kilo of pea protein is around 25-30 $. If you supplement daily, one pack of this supplement will last for about a month. Most people must take this article for three or more months before observing the desired results, for a total investment of 75-90 $.

We know that this amount may be too much for some people. So, if you’re determined to supplement daily with pea protein, we recommend that you take an interest in “savings” promotions, where you can buy large amounts of supplement for an initial investment that in the long run, will be much more beneficial to your pocket.

Summary

Much remains to be discovered in the field of sports nutrition and supplementation. Pea protein is the best example of this claim. This vegetable hydrolysate allows people who are intolerant to whey and casein a complete and high-quality supplementation.

Remember that in addition to contributing to muscle gain, weight loss, and muscle recovery, pea protein promotes cardiovascular health through its contribution of arginine. This product will allow you to maintain a toned exterior and a healthy interior. Don’t hesitate and try pea protein!

We hope you found this article on pea protein supplements helpful. We’d love to read your comments. And if you liked it, share it!

(Featured Image Source: Kostrez: 65331530/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Ava Kirk Journalist
Ava has specialized in medical journalism and not only writes about the human body, but also knows her way around food supplements. She also studied sports science in college.