Maitake Benefits and Cancer Research

 The scientific name for Maitake is Grifola frondosa. Maitake mushroom is widely regarded in traditional folk medicine as a potent immune food. Maitake polysaccharides contain a unique beta-1,6 1,3 glucan structure. The glucans and polysaccharides in it stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of the T-helper cells. A polysaccharide is a complex carbohydrate made up of smaller sugar molecules. These sugars stabilize blood pressure, blood sugar, and have an effect on free radicals. The primary polysaccharide, beta-D-glucan, is well absorbed when taken orally and is currently under review for the prevention and treatment of cancer, and as a supportive tool for HIV infection.

Maitake Benefits

The most effective ingredient in the mushroom is its beta-glucan, a polysaccharide compound that boosts the immune system through the activation of macrophage cells, natural killer cells and T-cells. The mushroom’s beta-glucan content works to promote important immune system functions, effectively activating white blood cells that fight off microorganisms that cause disease, including cancer.

Maitake Cancer Research

Specific polysaccharides, known as beta-D-glucans, are also suspected to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. An extract of these helpful glucans was patented and is known as the maitake D-fraction. Maitake D-fraction, a bioactive extract of maitake mushrooms, has shown anti-tumor activity in tumor-bearing mice, reducing cancer proliferation. The resulting fraction, called D-fraction, is a standardized form of polysaccharide compounds beta-1,6 and beta-1,3 glucane and a protein with a molecular weight close to 1,000,000. In clinical trials Maitake D-fraction has been shown to have an anti-tumour effect on tumour-bearing mice, with enhancing cytotoxic activity of macrophages and elevated production of interleuken-1 leading to the activation of cytotoxic lymphocytes. Unlike many other mushroom extracts that have to be injected intravenously, Maitake D-fraction has a strong ability to inhibit tumor growth when given orally as well.

In vitro research has shown maitake can induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines  as well as inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells. In a study on the preventive potential of maitake, mice were injected with a carcinogenic substance. 15 days after the injection, 10 mice were fed with 0,2 mg of fraction D of maitake during 15 consecutive days. The control group received a saline solution only. After 30 days, the number of mice with cancer was 30,7% in the group which had received maitake and 93,2% in the control group. In 2009, a phase I/II human trial was conducted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and it showed that maitake extract stimulates the immune systems of breast cancer patients. Colon cancer is significantly inhibited by maitake mushroom, according to a Japanese study published in the October 2010 ‘Cancer, Immunology, Immunotherapy‘ journal.

In a clinical study published in 1996 Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, a maitake extract was found to be effective against leukemia and stomach and bone cancers. In China, sixty-three patients with lung, stomach, or liver cancers or leukemia who took four capsules of maitake extract three times daily before meals for one to three months showed an anticancer effect. A recent study at New York Medical College also showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed prostate cancer cells in the test-tube.

MaitakeGold 404® represents the culmination of 18 years of research by Dr. Nanba and contains Dr. Nanba’s patented maitake mushroom extract, the most therapeutically potent and effective maitake extract ever developed by Dr. Nanba for broad spectrum immune stimulation. Additionally, clinical research with maitake often utilizes the mature fruiting body with a small amount of vitamin C. This is added to enhance the effects of maitake, since vitamin C has its own immuno-supporting properties. Combination therapy with maitake and vitamin C improves effectiveness of conventional cancer therapies, according to a study published in the July 2009 issue of the  International Journal of General Medicine.

Maitake Mushroom and HIV

In recent years maitake has gained popularity in the treatment of viral diseases including hepatitis, HIV and Epstein Barr infection. In 1990, the National Cancer Institute in America determined that maitake gave 100% protection to uninfected T cells exposed to the HIV virus in the test tube. Preliminary anti-HIV activity in vitro on Maitake D-fraction has been studied at both the National Institute of health in Japan and National Cancer Institute along with research at independent laboratories and clinical settings. At a conference , 1992, in Fukuoka, Japan, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba announced his findings that a maitake extract was able to prevent HIV destruction of T-helper lymphocytes by as much as 97% in vitro.

Maitake & Liver

Maitake has been shown to promote healthy lipid metabolism in the liver. Animal studies suggest that maitake mushrooms have the ability to alter lipid metabolism by inhibiting both the accumulation of liver lipids and the elevation of serum lipids. Maitake contains properties to protect the liver from damage and may even reverse damage that has already occurred. It also also has been found to help protect the liver from detrimental effects of hepatitis. A concentrated extract of  maitake, was tested on a group of 32 patients with chronic hepatitis B. The maitake group showed a recovery rate of 72% as compared to 57% in the control group.

Maitake Mushroom and Diabetes

People with Type 2 Diabetes have been found to benefit from maitake mushrooms. A specific, high-molecular polysaccharide called the X-fraction appears to be the active compound with anti-diabetic properties. In two reports published in 2002, maitake was found to reduce insulin resistance in rats. A health condition known to raise your risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance occurs when the body fails to respond properly to insulin. Additionally, people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus may also benefit from Maitake, according to researchers Hiroaki Nanba and Keiko Kubo, authors of ‘Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products‘.

How to Use Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake D-fraction is available in liquid extract, tablet, and capsule in health food stores, although the amount of beta glucan contained in each form may vary. Maitake, like all of the other medicinal mushrooms, must be prepared as a hot water extract in order to be effective for supporting immune health. Most of the research on maitake D-fraction has been done in Japan using an injectable form of the extract. Maitake Gold 404 dosage: To support people undergoing chemotherapy, the dosage is typically, 0.5mg to 1.0mg for every 1kg  of body weight per day. That translates to a dosage of approximately 35-70mg of the MD-fraction. The daily dosage recommendation for prevention is typically 5 to 15mg of the D- or MD-fraction.

Side Effects

At this time, there are no known adverse reactions when taken in conjunction with medication. If pregnant or lactating, consult your physician before taking this product.

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