Researcher's Note
Maitake mushroom extract, fraction, products, effectiveness, maitake benefits, side
effects - maitake mushroom cancer -   Revised on August 23, 2013
Maitake mushroom [Grifola frondosa] is an edible fungus. It has a large fruiting body and overlapping caps. Maitake
is increasingly being recognized as a potent source of polysaccharide compounds with dramatic health-promoting
potential. Some extracts have shown particular promise as immunomodulating agents, and as an adjunct to cancer and
HIV therapy. They may also provide some benefit in the treatment of hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and hepatitis.
Synonyms include beta-glucan, cloud mushroom, dancing mushroom, grifolan, Grifon Pro Maitake D Fraction Extract®,
king of mushroom, Maitake Gold 404®, MD-fraction, MDF, My-take.

Traditionally, maitake mushroom has been used as a food and a herbal remedy. Early studies in the laboratory as well
as in humans suggest that beta-glucan extracts from maitake mushroom may benefit cancers. In animal studies, maitake
mushroom extracts are reported to have the benefits of blood sugar level lowering. Animal and laboratory studies
suggest that beta-glucan extracts from maitake mushroom may alter the immune system.

Potential Health Benefits of Maitake Mushroom Extracts

Some studies show the potential benefits of maitake mushroom extracts on cancers and its enhancement in immune
response. [1-7, 10-17] This section highlights a few key findings supporting this consideration.

immune system
Maitake mushroom extracts may benefit people by modulating immune system. The low molecular weight
polysaccharides from maitake mushroom extract were found to enhance innate immunity in vitro. [4] Researchers first
treated the mushrooms with hot water and they found the fractions composed of polysaccharides with molecular masses
of 43-140 and 13-38 kDa had marked activities in enhancing phagocytosis of human polymorphonuclear neutrophils.
Further, these bioactive fractions were found to increasedhuman peripheral blood natural killer cell cytotoxicity. [4]

In innate immunity, activated natural killer (NK) cells attack and damage pathogens such as bacteria and virus without
restriction by the MHC antigen. NK cells activated by IL-12 have been reported to recognize and kill tumor cells in
perforin-mediated apoptosis.
D-Fraction, a polysaccharide extracted from the maitake mushroom, was found to be able
to activate macrophages, dendritic cells, and T cells and inhibit the growth of tumor cells. D-Fraction was found to
enhance the cytotoxicity of NK cells through the production of IL-12 by activating macrophages. [7]

Maitake mushroom extracts enhanced the performance of anti-viral agent. D-fraction extracted from maitake mushroom
enhanced the activities of human interferon alpha-2b (IFN)on chronic HBV infections by 9-fold in a study of HepG2
2.2.15 cells. [2]

Maitake mushroom extracts may benefit people at risk of cancers. A bioactive metabolite produced by maitake
mushroom showed activities against human carcinoma cells (Hep 3B, Hep G2, HeLa, CL1-1) and normal human lung
fibroblast. The researchers found the chemical, o-orsellinaldehyde, might mediate its cytotoxicity through apoptosis. [1]

A chemically sulfated polysaccharide (S-GAP-P)derived from water-insoluble polysaccharide of maitake mushroom
mycelia inhibited the proliferation of SGC-7901 cells and induced apoptosis, in a dose-dependent manner. S-GAP-P
significantly inhibited the tumor growth and enhanced the peritoneal macrophages phagocytosis in S180-bearing mice.

Maitake D-Fraction has been reported to exhibit an antitumor effect through activation of immunocompetent cells,
including macrophages and T cells, with modulation of the balance between T-helper 1 and 2 cells. Maitake D-Fraction
can also decrease the effective dosage in tumor-bearing mice by increasing the proliferation, differentiation, and
activation of immunocompetent cells and thus provide a potential clinical benefit for patients with cancer.[5]

Maitake Effectiveness
Maitake D-fraction was highly effective on the canine cancer cells, either potently inhibiting cancer cell growth or directly
killing cancer cells. Similar effects were also demonstrated in certain human cancer cells. However, other beta-glucan
products relevant to D-fraction had no such effects on canine cancer cells. [6]

The Maitake MD-fraction of maitake mushroom extracts containing beta 1,6-glucan with beta 1,3-branches was also
found to have anti-tumor activities and it also promotes immune response. Researchers found this fraction has a dose
response effect on mouse bone marrow cells (BMC) hematopoiesis in vitro. They further found that MD-fraction
promoted BMC viability and protected Colony Forming Unit-granulocyte-macrophage from doxorubicin induced toxicity.

Clinical studies
In a study of cancer patients without anticancer drugs, maitake D-Fraction hindered metastatic progress, lessened the
expression of tumor markers, and increased NK cell activity in all patients. [18]

In another study, researchers supplied 22- to 57-year-old cancer patients in stages II-IV with a combination of maitake
MD-fraction and whole maitake powder. They observed cancer regression or significant symptom improvement in 58.3
percent of liver cancer patients, 68.8 percent of breast cancer patients, and 62.5 percent of lung cancer patients.
However, the trial found a less than 10-20 percent improvement for leukemia, stomach cancer, and brain cancer
patients. Furthermore, when maitake product or extract was taken in addition to chemotherapy, immune-competent cell
activities were enhanced 1.2-1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone. [19] Thus, it is believed that certain maitake
extracts may benefit people at risk of certain
cancers. An article written by a group of researchers at The University of
Texas at Houston even just to have Maitake mushrooms in the list of leading supplements for cancer care. [31]

Lipid Profiles [20-22]
Maitake mushroom extracts may benefit people at risk of high lipid profiles. Maitake mushrooms were shown to alter lipid
metabolism by inhibiting both the accumulation of liver lipids and the elevation of serum lipids in an animal study. [20]

Maitake mushroom was shown to improve the lipid metabolism as it inhibits both liver lipid and serum lipid which are
increased by the ingestion of high-fat feed. In a study, researchers fed rats with hyperlipemia with dried maitake powder.
Weights of extirpated liver and epididymal fat-pads were significantly less than those in the basic feed group. In addition,
they also observed the value of liver lipids decreased. Maitake treatment also increased
cholesterol-excretion. The
observations suggest that maitake product inhibits lipid accumulation in the body. [21]

Diabetes, High Blood Sugar [23-28]
Maitake mushroom may benefit people at risk of high blood sugar level or diabetes. Researchers observed reduction of
blood glucose and pressure, when they provided 1 g/d of powdered fruit body of maitake to a genetically diabetic
mouse. [28]

High Blood Pressure
Maitake mushroom extracts may benefit people at risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). Dietary Maitake mushroom
was found to reduce the blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. [29, 30] After 8 weeks intake of maitake
mushroom, the blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats reduced, however, their lipid profile remained the
same. [29]
Maitake Mushroom Side Effects
Maitake Mushroom has been used as food for many years, probably it is safe for healthy subjects at low dosages.
Maitake side effects are unclear, when it is taken as medicine or at high doses. Intake of maitake mushroom may lead to
hypotension and hypoglycemia. Caution is advised for diabetic patients and those are taking drugs, herbs, or
supplements that affect blood sugar or blood pressure. Side effects such as allergy or even arthritis may occur.
Reference: [1] Lin JT, Liu WH.omicron-Orsellinaldehyde from the Submerged Culture of the Edible Mushroom Grifola frondosa Exhibits
Selective Cytotoxic Effect Against Hep 3B Cells Through Apoptosis.J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Oct 4;54(20):7564-9. [2] Gu CQ, et al,
Inhibition of hepatitis B virus by D-fraction from Grifola frondosa: Synergistic effect of combination with interferon-alpha in HepG2
2.2.15.Antiviral Res. 2006 Nov;72(2):162-5. Epub 2006 Jun 5. [3] Nie X, et al, Preparation of a chemically sulfated polysaccharide derived
from Grifola frondosa and its potential biological activities.Int J Biol Macromol. 2006 Apr 7 [4] Wu MJ, et al, Immunomodulatory properties of
Grifola frondosa in submerged culture.J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Apr 19;54(8):2906-14. [5] Kodama N, et al,Maitake D-Fraction enhances
antitumor effects and reduces immunosuppression by mitomycin-C in tumor-bearing mice. Nutrition. 2005 May;21(5):624-9. [6] Konno
S.Potential growth inhibitory effect of maitake D-fraction on canine cancer cells.Vet Ther. 2004 Winter;5(4):263-71. [7] Kodama N, et al,
Enhancement of cytotoxicity of NK cells by D-Fraction, a polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa.Oncol Rep. 2005 Mar;13(3):497-502. [8]
Shigesue K, et al, Effects of maitake (Grifola frondosa) polysaccharide on collagen-induced arthritis in mice.Jpn J Pharmacol. 2000
Nov;84(3):293-300. [9] Tanaka H, et al, Successful treatment of hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by Grifola frondosa (Maitake)
mushroom using a HFA-BDP extra-fine aerosol.Intern Med. 2004 Aug;43(8):737-40. [10] Kodama N, et al,Administration of a
polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa stimulates immune function of normal mice. J Med Food. 2004 Summer;7(2):141-5. [11] Lin H, et al,
Maitake beta-glucan MD-fraction enhances bone marrow colony formation and reduces doxorubicin toxicity in vi. Int Immunopharmacol.
2004 Jan;4(1):91-9. [12] Harada N, et al, Relationship between dendritic cells and the D-fraction-induced Th-1 dominant response in
BALB/c tumor-bearing mice.Cancer Lett. 2003 Mar 31;192(2):181-7. [13] Kodama N, et al,A polysaccharide, extract from Grifola frondosa,
induces Th-1 dominant responses in carcinoma-bearing BALB/c mice. Jpn J Pharmacol. 2002 Dec;90(4):357-60. [14] Inoue A, et al, Effect
of maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-fraction on the control of the T lymph node Th-1/Th-2 proportion.Biol Pharm Bull. 2002 Apr;25(4):536-40.
[15] Kodama N, et al, Addition of Maitake D-fraction reduces the effective dosage of vancomycin for the treatment of Listeria-infected
mice.Jpn J Pharmacol. 2001 Dec;87(4):327-32. [16] Finkelstein MP, et al, Chemosensitization of carmustine with maitake beta-glucan on
androgen-independent prostatic cancer cells: involvement of glyoxalase I.J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Oct;8(5):573-80. [17] Kodama N,
et al, Effects of D-Fraction, a polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa on tumor growth involve activation of NK cells.Biol Pharm Bull. 2002
Dec;25(12):1647-50. [19] Kodama N, et al, Can maitake MD-fraction aid cancer patients? Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):236-9.[18] Kodama
N, et al, Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in cancer patients.J Med Food. 2003 Winter;6(4):371-7.
[20] Kubo K, et al, The effect of maitake mushrooms on liver and serum lipids. Altern Ther Health Med. 1996 Sep;2(5):62-6.[21] Kubo K, et
al, Anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit body (Grifola frondosa). I.Biol Pharm Bull. 1997 Jul;20(7):781-5. [22] Fukushima M, et al,  
Cholesterol-lowering effects of maitake (Grifola frondosa) fiber, shiitake (Lentinus edodes) fiber, and enokitake (Flammulina velutipes)
fiber in rats.Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2001 Sep;226(8):758-65. [23] Talpur N, et al, Effects of Maitake mushroom fractions on blood
pressure of Zucker fatty rats.Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002;112(1-4):68-82. [24] Talpur N, et al, Effects of niacin-bound
chromium, Maitake mushroom fraction SX and (-)-hydroxycitric acid on the metabolic syndrome in aged diabetic Zucker fatty rats.Mol Cell
Biochem. 2003 Oct;252(1-2):369-77. [25]Sanzen I, et al,Nitric oxide-mediated antitumor activity induced by the extract from Grifola frondosa
(Maitake mushroom) in a macrophage cell line, RAW264.7. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2001 Dec;20(4):591-7. [26] Manohar V, et al, Effects of a
water-soluble extract of maitake mushroom on circulating glucose/insulin concentrations in KK mice.Diabetes Obes Metab. 2002
Jan;4(1):43-8. [27] Horio H, Ohtsuru M.Maitake (Grifola frondosa) improve glucose tolerance of experimental diabetic rats.J Nutr Sci
Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Feb;47(1):57-63. [28] Kubo K, et al, Anti-diabetic activity present in the fruit body of Grifola frondosa (Maitake). I.Biol
Pharm Bull. 1994 Aug;17(8):1106-10. [29] Kabir Y, et al, Dietary mushrooms reduce blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats
(SHR).J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1989 Feb;35(1):91-4. [30] Talpur NA, et al, Antihypertensive and metabolic effects of whole Maitake
mushroom powder and its fractions in two rat strains.Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Aug;237(1-2):129-36. [31] Frenkel M, et al, Integrating Dietary
Supplements Into Cancer Care. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Feb 25.
Selected Studies about how Maitake mushroom may benefit people at risk of certain cancers
Cancer / Tumor
Study Type and Finding
Breast cancer cells
in vitro, A. Maitake D-Fraction suppresses the breast
tumoral phenotype through a putative molecular
mechanism modifying the expression of certain genes.
B. The effect of Maitake D fraction may involve
mitochondrial dysfunction. C, Compared to other
mushrooms, Maitake further significantly inducing
apoptosis and cytotoxicity in human breast cancer cells.
A. J Med Food. 2013 Jul;16(7):602-17
B. J Med Food. 2011 Jun;14(6):563-72.
C. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2010
Advanced renal cell
in vitro; the combination of Maitake D-fraction and
vitamin C may work synergistically to induce apoptotic
cell death.
Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Jan 22
Murine; The therapeutic response of orally administered
Maitake MD-Fraction was associated with (i) induced
systemic tumor-antigen specific T cell response via
dectin-1-dependent activation of dendritic cells, (ii)
increased infiltration of the activated T cells into the
tumor and (iii) decreased number of tumor-caused
immunosuppressive cells such as regulatory T cells and
myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
Int J Cancer. 2013 Jul;133(1):108-19
Colon-26 tumor
Mice; A. Dendritic cells pulsed with colon-26 tumor
lysate in the presence of maitake Z-fraction induced
both therapeutic and preventive effects on colon-26
tumor development in BALB/c mice. B, Maitake
low-molecular-weight protein fraction acts as a biological
response modifiers.
A. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010
Oct;59(10):1. B. J Med Food. 2010
There are lots more examples on how maitake extracts work on cancer cells, how maitake extracts may benefit people
suffered from certain cancers. However, most of the studies are either in animals or in vitro. It is uncertain if the
results (or benefits) can be applied to a human body. It is definitely a good idea to have maitake mushrooms as a
food for general health support.

Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document and the information provided herein is believed to be
accurate. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is important to seek the
advice of a physician about any medical condition or symptom or the benefits and side effects of a supplement or a
drug product. Thank you.