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A number of people use protein powder to boost their daily protein intake. Mothers on the go drop a scoop into their favorite smoothies, athletes use it to keep up with their training regimen, and everyday people use it to meet their protein target. All protein powders are not equal; some are absorbed better by your body than others. Knowing how to improve absorption will help you maximize the benefits of your protein powder.


Your body requires certain enzymes called proteases to break down and absorb protein. This is why the most common way to improve protein powder absorption is to take a proteolytic enzyme supplement with your protein shake. Bromelain is a supplement used for this purpose. It is a mixture of proteolytic enzymes found in pineapple that can help digest and absorb protein. To aid digestion, 500 mg per day is commonly taken in divided doses with meals, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Hydrochloric acid is a stomach secretion that plays an important role in digesting food, particularly proteins. Boosting your hydrochloric acid levels naturally is the easiest way to improve protein powder absorption. Add foods to your diet that are known to stimulate hydrochloric acid production. These foods include, but are not limited to, onions, garlic, lemon, kale, black olives, spinach and apple cider vinegar. As a bonus, these foods are packed with health-promoting micronutrients. It is particularly useful to include these foods close to the time you have your protein shake.

Powder Forms

Some forms of protein are easier to assimilate than others. It's helpful to purchase protein powders that are easiest to digest. Protein powders made from cow's milk are the most common, but are not necessarily the easiest to absorb. Examples of easy-to-digest protein powders include brown rice protein powder and egg white protein powder. If you want to stick with cow sources, then choose whey- over casein-derived protein powders because they absorb better.


Consult your physician before taking supplements of any kind. Although bromelain is derived from natural sources, side effects are possible. Bromelain may interact with blood thinners and increase your bleeding risk. Avoid changing your diet to increase hydrochloric acid production if you suffer from issues such as gastric reflux, as this could aggravate your symptoms.