5 mins

Research Spotlight: Quorn mycoprotein and Muscle Growth

At Quorn Foods, high quality and innovative science has been at the heart of what we do since we started back in the 1960s. What’s more, since we are the only commercial brand to grow Quorn mycoprotein at scale we believe we have a duty of care and responsibility to continue to conduct rigorous research through our partnerships with a range of reputable institutions. We value transparency and conducting quality, ethical studies, and so that is why we operate on a ‘no strings attached’ basis. This means that we make sure that legally, all our researchers may publish their findings whatever the outcome – demonstrating our dedication to contributing to a new, exciting and scientifically-sound evidence base.

Earlier this year, the research team at the University of Exeter published their ground-breaking study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. If you’re interested in reading the full paper, it can be accessed for free here.

Animal-derived dietary protein sources, such as whey, milk and egg have all been shown to stimulate post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates and in addition to this, plant-based dietary protein sources have been assumed by many as being inferior. This has been due to their typically slower digestibility, lower bioavailability, and lower essential amino acid and leucine content.

However, to date, wheat and soy are the only nonanimal-derived protein sources to be studied with respect to their impact on muscle protein synthesis.

What did the study assess?

Quorn mycoprotein is a fungal-derived sustainable protein-rich food source. The researchers assessed the mixed skeletal protein synthetic response to the ingestion of a single bolus of Quorn mycoprotein compared with a bolus of milk protein, that was leucine-matched.

Who were the participants?

20 healthy, trained young men at rest and following a bout of strenuous resistance exercise. The men were then given either milk protein or Quorn mycoprotein. Their muscle building rates were then measured using “tracers” in the hours following protein consumption. Animal proteins like milk are an excellent source for muscle growth, so they provide a useful comparison for testing other protein sources.

What was the study design?

This was a randomised, double-blind, parallel-group study.

What did the study find?

Quorn mycoprotein ingestion robustly stimulated protein synthesis rates in resting and exercised muscle and the results showed that while those who ingested milk protein increased their muscle growth rates by an average of 60%, those who had Quorn mycoprotein increased their muscle growth rates by more than double this.

These world-first findings from a pioneering research team add valuable insights into the evidence base for meat-free diets and health.

“These results are very encouraging when we consider the desire of some individuals to choose non-animal derived sources of protein to support muscle mass maintenance or adaptations with training… we look forward to seeing whether these mechanistic findings translate to longer term training studies in various populations” - Associate Professor of Nutritional Physiology at the University of Exeter, Ben Wall

To learn more about the team at Exeter, visit our Meet the Experts page.

We’d love to know what you think of the study. Get in touch with us via email at quornnutrition@quornfoods.com or you can reach out to us on Twitter and Instagram @Quorn_Nutrition

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