60 Conditions That Respond to Maitake Mushrooms

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"Magic mushrooms" may take you on a psychedelic trip, but maitake mushrooms can fortify your body against ill -health and more than 60 diseases. Now that's truly magical!

Commonly called the "king of mushrooms," maitake mushrooms are a panacea of health-boosting benefits. Used for thousands of years in ancient medicinal systems, modern science has validated many of this royal fungi's valuable properties, and the evidence continues to amass.

Researched as a healing aid for more than 60 conditions, maitake mushrooms are adaptogens that can help fortify your body against many types of stress. Adaptogenic herbs, including many mushrooms, can stimulate your natural immunity to disease and help you maintain a healthful state of balance.

These large, brown mushroom clusters are sometimes referred to as the "dancing mushroom" and "hen of the woods." With their delicately layered, feathery appearance, you might mistake a maitake mound for a bird resting on a log if you're lucky enough to see them in the wild. Maitake mushrooms grow in North America and Europe, as well as in northeastern Japan, and are available fresh through specialty purveyors and in freeze-dried and powdered nutritional supplements.

Maitake Disease Research: A Mushrooming Medical Trend

The field of research around maitake mushrooms is burgeoning with studies on their health benefits. Conditions that have been associated with therapeutic use of maitake mushroom include the following conditions:

  1. High cholesterol and triglycerides[1]
  2. HIV/AIDS support[2]
  3. Immune function[3]
  4. Infection[4]
  5. Cancer treatment and prevention[5]
  6. Diabetes[6]
  7. High blood pressure[7]
  8. Weight loss[8][1] [2] [3]

Let's dig into the research behind these conditions and see what benefits are associated with magical maitake mushrooms.

High Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Hyperlipidemia, commonly called high cholesterol or high triglycerides, is what doctors diagnose when you have large amounts of lipids or fat in your bloodstream. A study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that mice with hyperlipidemia whose diets were fortified with 20% maitake mushroom powder consistently tested at lower levels of blood fat than mice receiving the standard diet.[9] The weights of livers and epididymal fat pads were also significantly less than the basic feed group.[10]

Further animal study of the anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit has shown that maitake inhibits lipid accumulation in the body, including in the liver.[11] Measurement of the amount of total cholesterol and bile acid in rat feces showed the ratio of cholesterol excretion had increased 1.8 times and bile acid excretion three-fold with maitake treatment.[12]

HIV/AIDS Support

Maitake mushrooms have been identified as a potential adjunct therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS. A therapeutic derived from beta-glucan extracted from maitake mushrooms called MD-fFraction has been tested for HIV/AIDS with promising results.

A study published in the journal, Mycoscience evaluated the health of 35 patients suffering from HIV infection in a long-term trial. Researchers monitored CD4+ cell counts, viral load, presentation of symptoms, status of secondary disease, and sense of well-being.

Twenty patients reported an increase in CD4+ cell counts, while viral load decreased in 10 patients.[13] The biggest benefit of maitake mushrooms was observed in patients' overall sense of wellness, with 85% reporting an increased sense of well-being with regard to symptomology and secondary diseases caused by HIV.[14] Researchers determined that Maitake D-fraction (MD-Fraction) had a positive impact in HIV patients,[15] reflecting the adaptogenic power of maitake fruit.

Immune Function

The key to an effective adaptogenic substance is its ability to modulate the immune response in beneficial ways. Your immune system needs to respond to threats like viruses, cancer cells, and environmental pollutants with an appropriate level of activity: too little, and illness can proliferate; too much, and autoimmune conditions may result. It's maitake's ability to immuno-modulate that makes it an adaptogen of considerable merit.

A 2014 study on the immune-enhancing effects of mushroom extracts explored the role of glucan in stimulating immune system reactions. Researchers focused on maitake and shiitake mushrooms, measuring various biomarkers in mice, including activity of immune cells, and the secretion of immune factors.

After 14 days of oral administration of maitake and shiitake glucan extracts, separately and in combination, researchers observed significant incitement of defense reactions, with strong stimulation in both the cellular and humoral branches of immune responses.[16] The combined extract of maitake and shiitake was the strongest, with maitake alone being the second strongest, followed by shiitake alone.[17]

A 2008 study suggests that maitake mushrooms enhance your innate immunity against foreign pathogens without eliciting the adverse inflammatory responses seen in over-active immune activity,[18] indicating a well-balanced adaptogenic effect.

Cancer Treatment and Prevention

Many of the current modes of cancer treatment aim to address the health and proliferation of cancer cells by essentially "carpet bombing" the host, killing cancer but also destroying healthy cells. It is this need for cancer treatments that target and destroy tumor cells while leaving healthy cells intact, that drove researchers to test MD-Fraction in a study published in the journal, Cancer Medicine.[19]

The experiments were performed on 25 female mice with breast cancer that were treated with MD-Fraction, a patented product made in Japan, or a standard maitake formula, for 15 days. Percentage of cancer prevention, rate of tumor growth, and overall survival were determined.

Researchers found that 5-milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day of MD-Fraction administered daily for 15 days prior to tumor cell implantation was able to block more than 60% of breast cancer development.[20] Maitake standard prevented oncogenesis, the transformation of healthy cells into cancer cells, in 26% of mice, with respect to control mice. Researchers concluded that MD-Fraction prevented breast carcinogenesis, blocked tumor growth, reduced angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels to feed tumors) and increased overall cancer survival in mice.[21]

Diabetes

Maitake mushrooms, specifically the alpha-glucan found in the fruit, have been identified as an antidiabetic compound owing to the array of actions they trigger within the body. A 2007 study on diabetic mice found that the administration of MT-alpha-glucan from maitake mushrooms significantly decreased body weight, and reduced levels of fasting plasma glucose, serum insulin, glycosylated serum protein, triglycerides, cholesterol, free fatty acid and malondialdehyde content in livers.[22]

MT-alpha-glucan also significantly increased healthy biomarkers, including the content of hepatic glycogen, signifying enhanced breakdown of glycogen into glucose, increased levels of the antioxidant glutathione, and enhanced activity of the enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase,[23] indicating improved liver function in diabetic mice.

Weight Loss

Studies on the anti-obesity effects of Grifola frondosa (GF) lend substantial weight to the theory that maitake mushrooms support healthy weight.

A 2021 study administered GF to mice that were fed a poor diet, to investigate GF's effects on lipid metabolism. Researchers concluded that GF significantly controlled body weight, blood glucose, and related organ biomarkers, and effectively counteracted the hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance triggered by poor diet.[24] GF also effectively modulated liver function and improved intestinal microflora, thereby reducing production of endotoxins and regulating the super-pathway associated with inflammation.[25]

60+ Reasons to Consume Maitake Mushrooms

Supplementing with maitake mushrooms is highly favored for health-conscious people and anyone who wishes to optimize their health through nutrition. If you choose whole fruits, you can get an even bigger boost by taking the advice of one of the world's leading mycologists, Paul Stamets -- let your mushrooms soak up the sun. Even common supermarket mushrooms can provide you with a mega-dose of vitamin D by absorbing, and then transferring, the healing power of solar energy.

There are no well-known side effects to maitake supplementation,[26] so you can rest assured that maitakes convey their life-enhancing gifts without toxicity or psychoactive effects associated with psilocybin mushrooms.

The GreenMedInfo.com database has dozens of articles with evidentiary research on maitake's usefulness for 60 disease conditions. Consult any of these articles to learn more.

GreenMedInfo's List of Conditions Researched for Maitake Mushrooms

1

Liver Cancer

2

Diabetes Mellitus: Type 2

3

Myelodysplastic Syndromes

4

Breast Cancer

5

Insulin Resistance

6

Immune Dysregulation: TH1/TH2 imbalance

7

Oxidative Stress

8

Breast Cancer: Triple Negative

9

Cancers: All

10

Colon Cancer

11

High Fat Diet

12

Inflammation

13

Myelotoxicity

14

Allergies

15

Chemotherapy-Induced Toxicity

16

Chemotherapy-Induced Toxicity: Cisplatin

17

Gastric Cancer

18

Prostate Cancer

19

Aging: Brain

20

Atherosclerosis

21

Chemotherapy Induced Myelotoxicity

22

Chemotherapy-Induced Toxicity: Paclitaxel

23

Depression

24

Diabetes Mellitus: Type 1

25

Diabetic Nephropathy

26

HSV-1

27

Hepatic Steatosis

28

Hyperinsulinism

29

Hypoglycemia

30

Immune Disorders: Low Immune Function

31

Immune Disorders: Low Immune Function

32

Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Toxicity

33

Listeria Infections

34

Liver Disease

35

Low Immune Function: Splenic Dysfunction

36

Low Immune Function: Thymus Dysfunction

37

Lung Cancer

38

Memory Disorders

39

Neutropenia

40

Neutropenia: Chemotherapy Induced

41

Neutropenia: Cyclic

42

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

43

Osteoporosis

44

Bladder Cancer

45

Cancer Metastasis

46

Cancers: Canine

47

Chemotherapy-Induced Toxicity: Doxorubicin

48

Colorectal Cancer

49

Coronavirus Infection

50

Dry Skin

51

Endotoxemia

52

Enterovirus 71

53

Hyperglycemia

54

Influenza A

55

Kidney Cancer

56

Laryngeal Cancer

57

Leukopenia: Chemotherapy Induced

58

Neutropenia: Severe Congenital

59

Organ Transplantation

60

Tumors

[5] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cancer Care, Integrative Medicine, Herbs, Maitake, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maitake

[6] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cancer Care, Integrative Medicine, Herbs, Maitake, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maitake

[7] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cancer Care, Integrative Medicine, Herbs, Maitake, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maitake

[8] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cancer Care, Integrative Medicine, Herbs, Maitake, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maitake

[9] Kubo K, Nanba H. The effect of maitake mushrooms on liver and serum lipids. Altern Ther Health Med. 1996 Sep;2(5):62-6. PMID: 8795938.

[10] Kubo K, Nanba H. The effect of maitake mushrooms on liver and serum lipids. Altern Ther Health Med. 1996 Sep;2(5):62-6. PMID: 8795938.

[11] Kubo K, Nanba H. Anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit body (Grifola frondosa). I. Biol Pharm Bull. 1997 Jul;20(7):781-5. doi: 10.1248/bpb.20.781. PMID: 9255420.

[12] Kubo K, Nanba H. Anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit body (Grifola frondosa). I. Biol Pharm Bull. 1997 Jul;20(7):781-5. doi: 10.1248/bpb.20.781. PMID: 9255420.

[13] Hiroaki Nanba, Noriko Kodama, Douglas Schar, Denise Turner, Effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) glucan in HIV-infected patients, Mycoscience, Volume 41, Issue 4, 2000, Pages 293-295, ISSN 1340-3540, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02463941 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1340354000707777)

[14] Hiroaki Nanba, Noriko Kodama, Douglas Schar, Denise Turner, Effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) glucan in HIV-infected patients, Mycoscience, Volume 41, Issue 4, 2000, Pages 293-295, ISSN 1340-3540, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02463941(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1340354000707777)

[15] Hiroaki Nanba, Noriko Kodama, Douglas Schar, Denise Turner, Effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) glucan in HIV-infected patients, Mycoscience, Volume 41, Issue 4, 2000, Pages 293-295, ISSN 1340-3540, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02463941(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1340354000707777)

[16] Vetvicka V, Vetvickova J. Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts. Ann Transl Med. 2014;2(2):14. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2014.01.05 [PMCID: 4202470]

[17] Vetvicka V, Vetvickova J. Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts. Ann Transl Med. 2014;2(2):14. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2014.01.05 [PMCID: 4202470]

[18] Lisu Wang, Choi-Lan Ha, Tso-Lin Cheng, Su-Yun Cheng, Tzi-Wei Lian, Ming-Jiuan Wu. Oral administration of submerged cultivated Grifola frondosa enhances phagocytic activity in normal mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008 Feb;60(2):237-43. PMID: 18237472

[19] Roldan-Deamicis A, Alonso E, Brie B, Braico DA, Balogh GA. Maitake Pro4X has anti-cancer activity and prevents oncogenesis in BALBc mice. Cancer Med. 2016;5(9):2427-2441. doi:10.1002/cam4.744 PMID: 27401257

[20] Roldan-Deamicis A, Alonso E, Brie B, Braico DA, Balogh GA. Maitake Pro4X has anti-cancer activity and prevents oncogenesis in BALBc mice. Cancer Med. 2016;5(9):2427-2441. doi:10.1002/cam4.744 PMID: 27401257

[21] Roldan-Deamicis A, Alonso E, Brie B, Braico DA, Balogh GA. Maitake Pro4X has anti-cancer activity and prevents oncogenesis in BALBc mice. Cancer Med. 2016;5(9):2427-2441. doi:10.1002/cam4.744 PMID: 27401257

[22] Lei Hong, Ma Xun, Wu Wutong. Anti-diabetic effect of an alpha-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa) on KK-Ay mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007 Apr;59(4):575-82. PMID: 17430642

[23] Lei Hong, Ma Xun, Wu Wutong. Anti-diabetic effect of an alpha-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa) on KK-Ay mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007 Apr;59(4):575-82. PMID: 17430642

[24] Xue Jiang, Jie Hao, Zijian Liu, Xueting Ma, Yuxin Feng, Lirong Teng, Yu Li, Di Wang. Anti-obesity effects through the modulation of lipid metabolismceramide in mice fed a high-fat diet. Food Funct. 2021 Jun 23. Epub 2021 Jun 23. PMID: 34160500

[25] Xue Jiang, Jie Hao, Zijian Liu, Xueting Ma, Yuxin Feng, Lirong Teng, Yu Li, Di Wang. Anti-obesity effects through the modulation of lipid metabolismceramide in mice fed a high-fat diet. Food Funct. 2021 Jun 23. Epub 2021 Jun 23. PMID: 34160500

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

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