In this post, I will finish up the discussion about protein powders by talking about Progenex’s Cocoon.
Say you’ve finished all your meals and are still looking to get more protein into your diet. (Personally I look to get about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight…so some days that’s entirely from food, and other days I use protein powder). As a nighttime supplement, here’s where Cocoon comes into play.
The ingredients in Cocoon are Micellar Casein, L-Tryptophan, Cocoa Powder, Dextrose, Coconut Oil, Sugar, Maltodextrain, Sucralose and Soy Lecithin. The big standouts here are the micellar casein and L-Tryptophan, so I’ll quickly address the other ingredients on the list first. Just as in Recovery and More Muscle, cocoa powder and sucralose are used as sweeteners, and I imagine the added coconut oil also enhances the flavor as well. There is only 1.5 grams of fat per serving, so it’s a very small amount of coconut oil added to the product. A tablespoon of coconut oil is around 10 grams of fat, so that’s why I am assuming it’s mostly for flavoring. But unlike Recovery however, the carbohydrate source of Cocoon is a mixture of dextrose and maltodextrin. These must also be in pretty small amounts since as there are only 4 grams of carbohydrate per serving. It’s a wise choice not to use fructose here, seeing as there is no need to mask the bitterness of hydrolyzed whey protein and no need for a quick digesting post-workout shake.
Let’s move on to micellar casein, the protein source. First, the word miceller is a chemical term. Instead of dissolving completely in water or gastric juices, the casein molecules will fold up into a spherical “micelle” because they are too large to be dissolved. Thinking of our curds and whey, the casein protein is what forms the large curds (or micelles), and this is essentially what happens in your stomach. The fact that the casein aggregates in this manner is why it’s considered to be the “slow-digesting” protein. Historically, it has been taken before bed because the slow digestion allows for prolonged periods of elevated amino acids in the bloodstream, thus “feeding” your muscles while you sleep. Its my view that as long as you eat enough protein from any source throughout the day, your muscles will not breakdown overnight. But if you want to get some extra protein, casein would be a wise choice over whey if taken at night.
The most interesting concept about Cocoon is the addition of L-Tryptophan. L-Tryptophan is an amino acid, most famously found in sources such as turkey, and often cited as the reason for the post-Thanksgiving nap. While placing the food-coma blame on the L-Tryptophan in turkey is mostly a myth, this amino acid is known to have sleep-inducing effects. After absorbing L-Tryptophan from food, our bodies convert it to 5-HTP and then to serotonin. In addition to regulating our mood, serotonin can be converted to melatonin, which is a hormone that helps our bodies enter into deeper sleep cycles.

So in summary, casein protein can theoretically be taken at any time of day, but because it’s coupled with L-Tryptophan in this product, Cocoon is clearly a nighttime supplement. Any time I’ve taken melatonin, I definitely woke up feeling well rested (and always had vivid dreams) so I imagine Cocoon would have a similar effect.