Mycoprotein ingestion stimulates protein synthesis rates to a greater extent than milk protein in rested and exercised skeletal muscle of healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Aug 1;112(2):318-333. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa092.


Background: Mycoprotein is a fungal-derived sustainable protein-rich food source, and its ingestion results in systemic amino acid and leucine concentrations similar to that following milk protein ingestion.

Objective: We assessed the mixed skeletal muscle protein synthetic response to the ingestion of a single bolus of mycoprotein compared with a leucine-matched bolus of milk protein, in rested and exercised muscle of resistance-trained young men.

Methods: Twenty resistance-trained healthy young males (age: 22 ± 1 y, body mass: 82 ± 2 kg, BMI: 25 ± 1 kg·m-2) took part in a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study. Participants received primed, continuous infusions of L-[ring-2H5]phenylalanine and ingested either 31 g (26.2 g protein: 2.5 g leucine) milk protein (MILK) or 70 g (31.5 g protein: 2.5 g leucine) mycoprotein (MYCO) following a bout of unilateral resistance-type exercise (contralateral leg acting as resting control). Blood and m. vastus lateralis muscle samples were collected before exercise and protein ingestion, and following a 4-h postprandial period to assess mixed muscle fractional protein synthetic rates (FSRs) and myocellular signaling in response to the protein beverages in resting and exercised muscle.

Results: Mixed muscle FSRs increased following MILK ingestion (from 0.036 ± 0.008 to 0.052 ± 0.006%·h-1 in rested, and 0.035 ± 0.008 to 0.056 ± 0.005%·h-1 in exercised muscle; P <0.01) but to a greater extent following MYCO ingestion (from 0.025 ± 0.006 to 0.057 ± 0.004%·h-1 in rested, and 0.024 ± 0.007 to 0.072 ± 0.005%·h-1 in exercised muscle; P <0.0001) (treatment × time interaction effect; P <0.05). Postprandial FSRs trended to be greater in MYCO compared with MILK (0.065 ± 0.004 compared with 0.054 ± 0.004%·h-1, respectively; P = 0.093) and the postprandial rise in FSRs was greater in MYCO compared with MILK (Delta 0.040 ± 0.006 compared with Delta 0.018 ± 0.005%·h-1, respectively; P <0.01).

Conclusions: The ingestion of a single bolus of mycoprotein stimulates resting and postexercise muscle protein synthesis rates, and to a greater extent than a leucine-matched bolus of milk protein, in resistance-trained young men. This trial was registered at as 660065600.

Keywords: amino acids; muscle protein synthesis; mycoprotein; protein metabolism; resistance exercise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / chemistry
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Resistance Training
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins