Product Rant: Progenex Cocoon

Buckle in. This one is not going to be pretty. My feathers have been ruffled. Now if you know me – which you probably don’t, or maybe you do, this probably doesn’t surprise you because I’m always up in arms about something these days. This one really got me agitated though. First, let me say I love Barbell Shrugged and the information they generally provide is top notch, well informed, funny, and absent the typical bullshit. Obviously on a live interview show you can’t really control what happens, and I’m not trying to make any judgements here, obviously Kendrick Ferris is a freak athlete. Here’s what happened – Kendrick is sponsored by Progenex and plugged their latest product “Cocoon” without any real knowledge or support for his claims. So basically at best it was anecdotal.

To catch you up – I already tried 12 weeks of Progenex “Recovery” and “More Muscle” mostly just to see what I was missing. The review can be found here.

So let’s break down “Cocoon.” It’s $69.95 without shipping, so we’ll say $70.00 so the math is easier, and that gives you 30 servings at 23g of protein each. That breaks down to a staggering $2.33 per serving. Then there’s the ingredients…

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Micellar Casein, L-Tryptophan, Cocoa Powder, Dextrose, Coconut Oil, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Sucralose, & Soy Lecithin.

For the purpose of this rant everything beyond L-Tryptophan can be considered “filler” and irrelevant, and I also commented on these things in my first Progenex post. Micellar Casein has been around for a long time, it’s pretty popular in the bodybuilding community as “slow digesting” protein that will release amino acids throughout the night while you sleep, so you don’t break down muscle overnight. There’s a lot of debate on whether or not real food has the same effect and if this really does very much. My point here is that its not special at all. It’s just a different kind of milk protein that forms large globs when exposed to the acid in the stomach which reduces surface area and forces a slower breakdown.

Then there’s this new bit, L-Tryptophan, which is an amino acid, just like BCAA I mention in my first Progenex post. Most commonly you’ll find L-Leucine, it’s widely touted as the muscle building amino acid. L-Tryptophan is just another of the 20 that make up every protein you consume, its in any meat, all meats really. What’s unique about L-Tryptophan is that it’s metabolized into 5-HTP which is then converted into Serotonin by the liver. Serotonin, in turn, is credited with a feeling of well-being and happiness. SSRI’s are a major category of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds; selective Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, leave more Serotonin in the synapses, artificially raising levels. Anyways – there’s not any good evidence that dietary increases in Tryptophan has any effect on either Serotonin levels or mood and sleep quality. So while the idea is sound that more Tryptophan would lead to more 5-HTP and then more 5-HT (Serotonin) – its not well researched and poorly supported in literature.

So now let’s look at what the other options are. First there’s pre-made Complete Casein mixes like the one from Cytosport which is 29 servings for $29.00, less than half the price. Then there’s my preference, Micellar Casein which comes in 1 lb. increments, a 30g serving is 27g of protein, which is 15 servings per pound. 5 Pounds is $60.95 which gets you 75 servings, or 2.5 times more. Then there’s the extra $10, I would spend that on some ZMA which is a well studied sleep and recovery aide, the Magnesium alone would do the trick, but the mix of Zinc, Magnesium and B6 seems to have additional benefits. So you can nab all of that for $75.84, or you can drop off 15 servings of Casein so you get 60 servings of both, that’s $63.65.


As of July 10, I have a discount code for!! How sweet is that?? So now you can take 5% off your entire TN order, making it an even better deal for high quality products. The code is “GRIZZLY”. Enjoy!

Why is my option better? Well you get 60 servings instead of 30, you spend $6 less, and you know 100% what you’re getting, and all of the ingredients are supported by real research. Plus, TrueNutrition let’s you use Stevia based flavoring and sweeteners so there’s no AceK or Sucralose. Let me be clear here – ZMA does not increase anabolic response, decrease catabolism, or bear any significance on training adaptation; but I’ll be damned if you don’t get some of the best sleep of your life. L-Tryptophan doesn’t really do any of that either, at best it increases Serotonin which might make you slightly euphoric.

Of note: Zinc and Calcium share the same uptake sites in the gut, so never take ZMA within 30-45 minutes of Casein. I’d drink the Casein about an hour before bed, then right before bed pop the ZMA’s.

More on Serotonin.

More on Tryptophan.

While this is all well and good, and you’re free to read this and accept it, or better yet read it and do some digging of your own, or simply read it and shrug it off entirely – that’s your choice. The real question is why does this bother me so much? Well it bothers me because “Cocoon” is already sold out, which means probably thousands of people have ordered it without an hour of internet research on what they’re buying. That’s the kind of ignorance or blissful unawareness that Progenex wants. Without the feedback from well educated consumers, demanding a better researched or better put together product, they’ll just keep going on this path. Don’t even get me started on “Force”.

I welcome all comments, agree or disagree – let me know.

Update: Aug 02 2013

A couple people have asked for the recipe I would use to replicate Cocoon on – so I’ve gone in and done it. Here we go. Use “GRIZZLY” at checkout for 5% off.

Just the protein I did an 80% mix of Micellar Casein and 20% Medium Chain Triglycerides, which provides 21g of protein and 4g of fat per scoop, at 5lbs ordered, its 75 servings for a little under $70.00. For that same $70.00 you get only 30 servings (less than half!) of cocoon. So how much is a little free form Tryptophan worth to you? I also threw in 60 servings of ZMA, which I take and love, and would recommend to anyone. So if you order only 2.5 lbs of protein, you can use the money you save (which is a lot) to buy some grassfed beef and some ZMA and love your life. You can also modify the protein/fat ratio a bit to more closely replicate the protein/fat ratio in Cocoon, but I think I prefer a bit higher fat, as it’ll further slow the protein uptake.

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Leave a Reply

  1. Yeah, I thought that was funny. “I don’t really know what it does or what’s in it, but PROGENIX IS AWESOME!!!!” ZMA is one of the few supplements that I take and know for a fact it works. I can feel something going on when I take it.

  2. Thanks for posting this.. they lost my vote as soon as I found out it only came in “chocolate silk” flavor so didn’t even research any further.. 😉

    Love this post, and went back and read your other Progenex one. I have been using Progenex (okay, I bought into the this-is-what-Crossfitters-should-use ideal) and really enjoy it. I am not as educated as you on these products, and honestly do trust the opinions and thoughts of others when it comes to supplements and such. I do like how you did a “this is what you could buy..” comparison. Super helpful!

    Thank for for such an honest review!

  3. I bought Progenex Recovery once… Spent way too much money, realized it’s nothing special, and won’t make that mistake again. It tastes pretty good, I guess? This is a really interesting post, thanks for explaining how Cocoon works, because I had been wondering.

  4. My old CF Gym sold Progenex on site but I would never buy it for the exact reasons you’ve mentioned in this and previous posts. I’ve used True Nutrition for over a year and absolutely love their products and service. Regardless of the claims made by Progenex, there is no reason to buy their overpriced products when you can pretty much duplicate it for a fraction of the cost at TN.

  5. Have you any links to studies demonstratong improved sleep from ZMA. As you say, its proponents claims regarding anabolic response have been shown to be fallacious, not sure about the claims on sleep?

    • The studies on sleep are few and far between. Most of that is anecdotal, including my own anecdotes. What it comes down to for most people is a Magnesium or Zinc deficiency. Magnesium is the 2nd most common mineral deficiency second to Vit D, and correcting that deficiency has been shown to return people to normal sleep patterns. I don’t believe it improves sleep beyond normal levels, but most people are so far below normal, that even attaining a normal sleep level can produce drastic results. Combine this with its affordability and it’s a no-brainer for me. Studies or not. (

      • Which suggests taking a good multi-vit with Zinc and Magnesium at recommended levels would do the job as well as a moderately expensive supplement. Cool

        Love the blog, thanks for doing it

  6. Could you post a shopping cart showing what you listed above with the same ratio. Like you did with the “More Muscle” Rant. LOL. Thanks.

  7. Wish I read this article BEFORE I bought this stuff. It tastes like azzzzzz 😛 Like many, I just purchased b/c that’s what my box sells. Deetdeedee

  8. Hey I’ve been going back and forth between this review the one you made on Recovery and More muscle, in an attempt to make my own mix on TN. Would it be a bad idea to mix mct and maltodextrin with hydrolyzed whey as a post workout shake? I’m a little unsure about how that’ll all mix together. Great reviews btw.

    • I really can’t comment on the customized mix features of TN because I’ve never used them. I’m much more of an “at home” scientist, in that I mix everything on a shake-by-shake basis. I don’t see the harm in it however. I doubt they’d offer an add-on or mix that would ruin their product for you. It’s likely fine. From a taste perspective, a little dextrose and coconut milk (in the can) might net you the same result with a better taste profile.

    • I’m going to assume by “NT” you meant “TN” because otherwise I’m at a loss. I don’t recall the exact servings of Cocoon but it should just be 80% Calcium Caseinate and 20% Medium Chain Triglycerides… so in the mix you do the following…

      Nutrition Facts & Price

      Hope that helps.

  9. I tried Progenix Recovery once… I won’t make that mistake again! Super expensive and the stupid bag wouldn’t even seal. If I’m going to spend that kind of money at least make the bag to close properly… anyway it wasn’t anything special. I will be trying the Truenutrition asap! Thanks for the info!

    • There are a few easy alternatives – the first would be just adding full fat coconut milk, about 1/3 of a cup should do just fine. The second would be going with straight MCT Oil (Now Foods). The final alternative is the same exact thing from Protein Factory. Luckily MCT’s are pretty readily available even if TN decides they’re not worth having around 🙁

    • i called to ask and its out of stock so they pulled it from the website, when it becomes available again they’re putting it back online.

  10. Pingback: The Grizzly Guide to BCAA (A Cheat Sheet) | Grizzly Strong

  11. Thanks for your well researched rant. Cocoon was so expensive that last summer I split a bag of the Cocoon with a buddy. We both thought it tasted horrible, cold or hot. I did feel like I rested well so I was considering buying another bag (Dec) but had a hard time with the price. Tonight I stumbled upon your article and am grateful. I checked out their website and now the price is $99.95 before S/H + taxes and is on back order!

  12. Which recipe do I use to replicate progenex cocoon? Do I use the one with calcium caseinate or the one with micellar casein?

  13. Hi i found your blog by searching a reccomended product “Progenex”. I have to say Iike the honesty on the subject. I’m not sure why I would use it after reading some reviews on it. I’ve always heard that it is way overpriced. I am currently crossfitting 4-5 times a week and would like to build more muscle. I am 5’4 155lb female and still building up endurance while trying to loose fat. Other protein powders with milk ingredients upset my stomach and make me sick. Do you have any recommendations for a protein without whey? Thanks and I hope to hear back.

    • When it comes to protein – I don’t think I’ll ever stray from, the pricing and customization is really above and beyond anything you’ll get anywhere else. I would look into either Beef Isolate or an Egg based protein if you tolerate egg products okay (some people don’t). Their beef protein (link) is gluten free, soy free, dairy free so you should have no tummy troubles there. If you end up ordering it, feel free to use my 5% dicount code “GRIZZLY”. Hope this helped!

  14. I have never tried another Casien protein before Cocoon and I have to say I absolutely love the Cocoon product!! It puts you into amazing sleeps, and wake up feeling so refreshed. I sometimes take ZMA as well, about an hour later, right before I pass out and it is the perfect combination. I have tried both flavours, Chocolate and Cinniamon and they both taste amazing. Yes, it is expensive, but honestly quite worth it!! No, I do not work for the company! Just a simple girl trying to make some muscle gainzzzz!