ARO Black Series Casein Review
For those who go to bed with exhausted, aching muscles after working out, Vitacost claims ARO Black Series Casein is precisely what they need.
A protein powder purported to be “rich in muscle-supporting and maintaining essential amino acids,” ARO Black Series Casein focuses on a slow release of proteins and nutrients to heal muscle tissue after intense workouts.
In addition, the product is acclaimed to be the “best-tasting casein” with no “chemical aftertaste.”
These promises grabbed my attention—could a protein powder really be effective and tasty?
What Is ARO Black Series?
In an effort to seize a growing market, online retailer Vitacost introduced their exclusive sports nutrition supplement line in May 2013. An acronym for “Attack, Recover, and Optimize,” ARO Black Series boasts 27 products that are high-quality, transparent, tasty, and affordable.
In a promotional video of the product line, Vitacost nutrition specialist Carolyn Croacker said, “Every type of athlete from high school up to the elite can use these products. We have a winner here. You will love the products.” 
Is Vitacost a Reputable Company?
The short answer is yes—Vitacost is a reliable company. Accrediting agencies like McAfee Secure and Better Business Bureau attest to their honest business practices and excellent customer service.
Joanna Broadbent, who reviewed ARO Black Series products for Vitacost, extolled the company in her blog, “Sports Bras and Sippy Cups.” She wrote:
“If you have been following me for a while you know I LOVE Vitacost and ONLY go through them for my supplement needs. They are always quick, affordable, and have everything I am looking for!”
What Are The Ingredients?
ARO Black Series Casein has a number of ingredients; below is a description of its main ones:
Micellar Casein [24g]. Micellar Casein is a protein mostly found in milk and other dairy products. With food digestion, it creates bioactive peptides that calm the brain and carry calcium and phosphorous to the blood stream. 
In addition, micellar casein is the only protein that prevents oxidative breakdown of muscle tissue during and after intense exercise. Because casein increases amino acids in the blood stream, muscle tissue can build after exercise for a relatively long time. 
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). Scientists say MCTs, like other fats, provide more energy than carbohydrates and can be released rapidly.  But, further research is necessary to confirm this.
Aminogen [100mg]. Aminogen breaks down protein into separate amino acids, which are then absorbed to maintain and repair muscle tissues and organs. 
In one study, Aminogen was shown to increase the absorption rate of processed whey protein, which aids muscle recovery. 
Sunflower Oil. Although sunflower oil is used to treat constipation and “bad” LDL cholesterol, its use in sports nutrition is unknown. 
What Are The Side Effects?
The most significant ingredient in ARO Black Series Casein is micellar casein. According to WebMD, those who are lactose intolerant should avoid the product since casein is a milk protein. In addition, little is known about the safety of casein peptides in dietary supplements. 
Consuming MCTs on an empty stomach has been known to cause abdominal cramps and bloating. 
On the product label, it states the following individuals should first consult with a physician before consuming:
• Pregnant or lactating women
• People with a known medical condition or taking medication
What About Taste and Texture?
Reviewers contrast in their opinion of the taste and texture. The writer for the blog “Runaway Bridal Planner” described giving it to friends and family and she wrote, “They liked it, one said he loved the taste.”
Another blogger named Jenn (“A Traveling Wife”) recorded herself on video taste-testing the product. Upon one sip, she expressed a look of disgust. In her blog she wrote, “The flavor is quite tasty but the texture is not for me—it has a pudding consistency.”
What Have Consumers Said?
Most of the blog reviewers have either not tried the ARO Black Series Casein yet or have not noticed effects. Blogger Jenn said:
“Because I have been experimenting with different ways for me to tolerate the drink, I have not noticed any differences yet. But I will continue using this product to see if I can get any other effects by using it over a longer period of time.”
How To Purchase ARO Black Series Casein
Vitacost.com is the exclusive retailer of the product, and both flavors (chocolate and vanilla) are available in two different sizes:
• 2lb (908g) – $23.99 (plus $4.99 for shipping)
• 4lb (1816g) – $42.99 (plus $4.99 for shipping)
Should You Purchase ARO Black Series Casein?
Vitacost claims their products are transparent, yet most ingredient quantities are undisclosed. Reviewers also remark its pasty, thick texture makes it difficult to swallow.
But, scientific evidence supports the claims behind micellar casein and its effectiveness to induce muscle recovery. Potential side effects are minimal and not extreme. If you don’t mind plugging your nose, ARO Black Series Casein is worth a try.
 “ARO Black Series.” Vitacost. Available from: http://www.vitacost.com/aro-sports
 “Why is Micellar Casein important?” Idaho Milk Products. Available from: http://idahomilkproducts.com/content/why-micellar-casein-important
 “Medium-Chain Triglycerides.” New York University Langone Center. Available from: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21809
 “What is Aminogen?” XPI. Available from: http://www.xpisupplements.com/what-is-aminogen/
 Oben J, Kothari SC, Anderson ML. “An open label study to determine the effects of an oral proteolytic enzyme system on whey protein concentrate metabolism in healthy males.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5:10 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-10. Available from: http://www.jissn.com/content/5/1/10
 “Sunflower Oil.” WebMD. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-40-SUNFLOWER%20OIL.aspx?activeIngredientId=40&activeIngredientName=SUNFLOWER%20OIL
 “Casein Peptides. WebMD. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1107-CASEIN%20PEPTIDES.aspx?activeIngredientId=1107&activeIngredientName=CASEIN%20PEPTIDES