Grifola Frondosa

Maitake

Source of Information: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the oldest and largest private cancer center, located in New York, founded in 1884.


Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa

Common Name: King of mushrooms, dancing mushroom, cloud mushroom, hen of woods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How It Works

Bottom Line: Maitake demonstrated anticancer effects in laboratory studies. Research is underway to test its anticancer effects in humans.

Maitake is a mushroom that traditionally has been used in Japan and China as part of the diet and to treat diabetes and hypertension. Like other medicinal mushrooms, maitake contains a complex sugar called a beta-glucan. In laboratory studies, maitake extract was able to stimulate various cells and factors in the immune system. Studies in animals show that it slows the growth of certain tumors and lowers blood glucose (sugar) levels. More studies are being conducted to determine if maitake has the same effects in humans.

Purported Uses
  • To prevent and treat cancer
    Laboratory studies and small uncontrolled studies in humans show that maitake extracts slow the growth of tumors and stimulate certain immune cells.
  • To manage diabetes
    itake reduces blood glucose levels in rats.
  • To lower high cholesterol
    No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • To lower high blood pressure
    There are no studies to support this claim.
  • As an immune stimulant
    aitake stimulates the activity of certain immune cells in laboratory studies and in mice.
  • To lose weight
    This claim is not backed by research.
Do Not Take If
  • You are taking hypoglycemic medications to lower your blood sugar, as maitake can increase their effects.
  • You are taking warfarin, as maitake may interact with warfarin resulting in an elevated international normalized ratio (INR).
Clinical Summary

Maitake mushroom is an edible mushroom consumed widely in Asia as food and used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes and hypertension. Maitake extracts are commercially available as dietary supplements marketed to “enhance immune function” and to treat HIV and cancer. Beta 1,6-glucan, a protein bound polysaccharide, has been identified as the active constituent.

Maitake extracts exhibited hypoglycemic effects in a few studies (9) (12). Preliminary data suggest that maitake may be useful in inducing ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (22).

Maitake demonstrated antitumor effects (16), enhanced bone marrow colony formation, reduced doxorubicin toxicity (11), and inhibited tumor metastasis in vitro (13). In a study done in mice, oral maitake extract promoted maturation of hematopoietic cells to functionally active myeloid cells and enhanced peripheral blood leukocyte recovery following chemotoxic bone marrow injury (17). A novel polysaccharide, MZF, was shown to induce dendritic cell maturation and enhanced antitumor response (20).
Maitake also enhanced interferon activity against bladder cancer cells (18) and alleviated inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease (19).
In a small non-controlled study, tumor regression or significant improvements in symptoms were observed in half of the subjects using Maitake extract (5). In another study of postmenopausal breast cancer patients, oral administration of maitake extract was shown to have immunomodulatory effects (14).
More studies are underway to establish Maitake's anticancer potential.

Food Sources

Maitake mushroom is an edible fungus. The whole mushroom can be fried or boiled.

Purported Uses
  • Cancer prevention
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Immunostimulation
  • Weight loss
Constituents
  • Polysaccharides: 1,3 and 1,6 beta-glucans appear to be the most active ingredients. Alpha glucan is also present.
  • Lipids: Octadecanoic and octadecadienoic acids
  • Phospholipids: Phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid
  • Ergosterol (vitamin D2)
Mechanism of Action

Maitake is thought to exert its effects through its ability to activate various effector cells, such as macrophages, natural killer cells, and T cells, as well as interleukin-1 and superoxide anions (2) (3) (4) (13). Studies also suggest possible hypoglycemic activity (9). The anti-diabetic effect of alpha-glucan may be due to its effects on insulin receptors by increasing insulin sensitivity and ameliorating insulin resistance of peripheral target tissues (12).
Maitake extract enhanced the growth and differentiation of mouse bone marrow cells treated with doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic agent (11). In addition, maitake extract may modulate antigen presentation as evidenced by protection of mice against tumor implantation following transfer of dendritic cells from tumor-bearing mice that were treated with maitake extract (15).
Maitake D fraction demonstrated antitumor activity by upregulating expression of a proapoptotic gene, BAK-1 (23). In another study the beta glucan GFPBW1 also showed antitumor effects thought partially due to activation of macrophages via the Dectin-1/Syk/NF-κB signaling pathway (24).

Contraindications

Maitake may not be appropriate for those taking hypoglycemic medications as it can have synergistic effects (9).

Herb-Drug Interactions

Warfarin: Maitake may interact with warfarin resulting in an elevated international normalized ratio (INR).

Herb Lab Interactions

May lower blood glucose level.

Purpose of this published study is scientific information and education, it should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. This website is designed for general education and information purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment.



Disclaimer:

NOTE: Regardless of how our products may be used in other countries, or anything that you may have heard or read about Aloha Medicinals products, under FDA law in the United States it is illegal for a manufacturer to make any medical claims for health supplements. None of the products offered for sale on this website or direct to retail consumers are intended to be used in the treatment or mitigation of any disease state. All statements made by us on this web site or by Aloha Medicinals Inc. are intended for informational purposes only. The statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA, and our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Health decisions are much too important to be made without the advice of a health care practitioner. As with any dietary or herbal supplement, you should advise your health care practitioner of the use of this product. If you are nursing, pregnant, or considering pregnancy, you should consult your health care practitioner prior to using any health supplement product.

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