The effects of substituting red and processed meat for mycoprotein on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in healthy volunteers: an analysis of secondary endpoints from Mycomeat

Dominic Farsi*, Jose Lara Gallegos, Tim J. A. Finnigan, William Cheung, José Luis Muñoz-Muñoz, Daniel Commane

*Corresponding author for this work

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Mycoprotein is a relatively novel food source produced from the biomass of Fusarium venenatum. It has previously been shown to improve CVD risk markers in intervention trials when it is compared against total meat. It has not hitherto been assessed specifically for benefits relative to red and processed meat.

We leveraged samples from Mycomeat, an investigator-blind randomised crossover controlled trial in metabolically healthy male adults (n = 20), randomised to consume 240 g/day of red and processed meat for 14 days followed by mycoprotein, or vice versa. Blood biochemical indices were a priori defined secondary endpoints.

Mycoprotein consumption led to a 6.74% reduction in total cholesterol (P = 0.02) and 12.3% reduction in LDL cholesterol (P = 0.02) from baseline values. Change in fasted triglycerides was not significantly different between diets (+ 0.19 ± 0.11 mmol/l with mycoprotein, P = 0.09). There was a small but significant reduction in waist circumference for mycoprotein relative to meat (− 0.95 ± 0.42 cm, P = 0.04). Following the mycoprotein diet, mean systolic (− 2.41 ± 1.89 mmHg, P = 0.23) and diastolic blood pressure (− 0.80 ± 1.23 mmHg, P = 0.43) were reduced from baseline. There were no statistically significant effects of the intervention on urinary sodium, nitrite or TMAO; while urinary potassium (+ 126.12 ± 50.30 mmol/l, P = 0.02) and nitrate (+ 2.12 ± 0.90 mmol/l, P = 0.04) were both significantly higher with mycoprotein relative to meat. The study population comprised metabolically healthy adults, therefore, changes in plasma lipids had little effect on cardiovascular risk scores (− 0.34% FRS for mycoprotein P = 0.24).

These results confirm potential cardiovascular benefits when displacing red and processed meat with mycoprotein in the diet. Longer trials in higher risk study populations are needed to fully elucidate suggested benefits for blood pressure and body composition. Identifier: NCT03944421.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3349-3359
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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