New research suggests that Maitake mushrooms may improve cancer treatment outcomes. However, how effective is the mushroom in cancer treatment? Can you rely on this unique fungus for complete healing?
This post will look at the latest research on Maitake mushrooms and cancer, exploring how this mushroom could help you or someone you love fight cancer. By the time you reach the end of this detailed guide, you will have information on how Maitake mushroom extract kills cancer cells. We will also let you know how maitake products reduce the side effects of conventional cancer treatment options.
Are you ready? Scroll down to learn more.
What Is Maitake Mushroom?
Maitake mushroom or Grifola frondose is indigenous to Japan. Its name, 'Maitake,' means dancing mushrooms because the people in Japan danced when they found the mushroom in the wilderness.
Grifola frondosa typically grows in clusters at the foot of large trees, especially oaks and elms. Although this mushroom was found in Japan thousands of years ago, it is finding popularity in the United States in recent years for its therapeutic use and healing properties.
Tasty when used in cooking, the mushroom has traditionally been used as a part of the diet.
Read More: Wondering how to cook mushrooms? See our best Lion's mane mushroom recipes.
Maitake carries many benefits, including:
- Aids in diabetes treatment
- Fights high blood pressure
- Offers mental health benefits
- It helps with weight loss
Read More: See how maitake helps with weight loss.
In this article, however, we won't focus on the other benefits of maitake. Instead, we will explain the maitake mushroom's cancer-treating ability, how it works, how to consume it, and recommendations for avoiding side effects when using the functional mushroom.
Benefits Of Taking Maitake Mushroom For Cancer
There is scientific evidence that maitake extracts aid cancer patients in their recovery journey. Grifola Frondosa improves the patient's response to radiation and other conventional cancer treatments.
Maitake mushroom carries several fractions. The maitake D-fraction is the most potent immunotherapy agent, exhibiting good cancer inhibition(1).
A study has suggested using the Maitake mushroom for cancer treatment, showing significant 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, there was less than a 10-20 percent improvement for leukemia, stomach, and brain cancer(2).
Read More: Are you interested in other mushrooms that fight cancer? See how cordyceps aids cancer treatment.
When the maitake extract is obtained from a high-quality maitake fruit body, it does not just help suppress tumor growth but also helps with apoptosis. The dancing mushroom also aids in tumor metastasis prevention.
The beta-glucan D-fraction Maitake, a protein-bound polysaccharide, is the component that exerts anticancer effects by stimulation and activation of various subsets of the immune system.
Further studies are going on to study the maitake cancer treatment mechanism, the effectiveness of maitake mushrooms in cancer treatment, and the maitake mushroom dosage required to treat cancer.
While maitake mushrooms are some of the best dietary supplements for treating cancer, it is worth noting that they carry some side effects.
The side effects of the mushroom are allergic reactions and eosinophilia. The mushroom may interfere with other immunosuppressants and interact with anti-diabetic meds, causing hypoglycemia. Therefore, you should consult your physician before taking maitake supplements.
So, let's discuss Maitake mushroom's cancer treatment mechanisms. Below, we will take a look at the various ways the edible mushroom extract induces apoptosis:
Treatment Of Cancer
Beta-glucan polysaccharide binds to Dectin-1 receptors in the outer membrane of macrophages, Natural killer (NK) cells, and cytotoxic T cells. This cell-mediated immunity is responsible for attacking tumor cells directly and killing them. Thus, helping in the protection and fight against cancer development.
Furthermore, Beta-glucans stimulate the production of signaling proteins in the immune system, such as interleukin-1, interleukin-2, and cytokines(3). This helps to activate the immune system further to kill cancer cells.
Read More: Did you know Chaga kills cancer cells? See how Chaga treats cancer.
The maitake medicinal mushroom is known to have vast quantities of alpha-glucan and beta-glucan. The maitake mushroom extract can fight cancer through NK cell activation.
Preventing Cancer Metastasis
Research studies have shown that the maitake mushroom also helps prevent cancer metastasis. Metastasis transfers cancer foci from a primary site via blood, lymphatics, or direct invasion to secondary sites.
The maitake mushroom causes necrosis of tumor cells in blood and lymph via activation of cellular immune-competent cells. This prevents cancer metastasis from one site to another(4).
While the research is not yet conclusive on how the mushroom prevents cancer metastasis, there is a high likelihood that this effect results from maitake mushroom polysaccharide, credited for the majority of the mushroom's cancer benefits.
The maitake polysaccharides also strengthen the body's immune system and activate bone marrow colony formation to ensure no cancer cells in the bloodstream.
Synergistic Effect With Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy works by directly killing cancer cells. However, the maitake mushroom acts indirectly via the activation of the immune system. Chemotherapy is more effective when used together with oral maitake extract.
Moreover, chemotherapy causes side effects like severe infections by lowering the body's immune system. So, using immune system activating substances like maitake D-fraction as an adjuvant can reduce the side effects associated with chemotherapy(5).
Read More: See the maitake nutritional values.
How The General Benefits Of Maitake Help With Cancer Prevention And Treatment
The health benefits of maitake mushrooms also play a crucial role in cancer treatment and prevention. These benefits include:
Maitake Diabetes Treatment And Cancer Prevention
Research shows that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. An article published in 2019(6) indicated that diabetic patients feature an increased risk of several types of cancers, including:
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
The good news, however, is that Maitake mushroom is known to offer an anti-diabetic effect. The mushroom helps people with diabetes maintain lower blood sugar levels. The mushroom's ability to treat diabetes means a reduced risk of developing cancer among individuals with diabetes.
Maitake Obesity Treatment And Reduced Cancer Risk
There is clinical evidence showing that maitake helps people lose weight.
According to a research study conducted in 2021(7), Maitake mushrooms reduced fat accumulation. An earlier research study conducted in 2018(8) determined that the Maitake mushroom is a novel functional food that can prevent lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(9), obesity is a risk factor for cancer. The CDC notes that being obese increases the risk of suffering from over 13 types of cancers. These cancers include the following:
- Breast cancer
- Colon and rectum cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Ovary cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Uterine cancer
- And others
Maitake mushroom helps people control their weight. By reducing their body weight, the mushroom lowers the risk of the mentioned cancers.
Read More: See how Lion's mane supports weight loss.
Maitake Inflammation Control Lowers Cancer Risk
Maitake controls inflammation. Research studies have shown inflammation to be a precursor for developing cancer.
A research study published in 2010(10) indicated that inflammation is critical for tumor progression. Yet another research study(11) conducted in the same year determined that inflammation increases the risk of cancer—the study also determined that inflammation impacts every single step of tumorigenesis, from initiation through tumor promotion to metastatic progression.
By fighting inflammation, maitake reduces the risk of developing cancer. In people who have cancer, the mushroom prevents metastasis.
Maitake Anti-Viral Properties Aid Cancer Treatment
In 2021, researchers conducted a study(12) to determine the contribution of viral infection to the risk of developing cancer. The research study determined that viral infection increased the overall risk of cancer.
Various studies have reported maitake's ability to fight off viral infections. One study(13) showed that an antiviral protein extracted from maitake could inhibit the replication of Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1).
A second research study(14) was used to determine maitake mushrooms' effectiveness in boosting the influenza vaccine's positive impact. The study determined that the people who continuously ate maitake had higher antibodies against the influenza virus than those who did not eat the functional mushroom.
This indicates that the mushroom is very effective in fighting viral infections. Since viral infections increase cancer risk, the mushroom lowers the risk by ensuring the body can get rid of these infections as soon as possible.
Maitake Gut Health Benefits Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Research conducted in 2018 showed(15) that Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) significantly raises the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Luckily, Maitake mushroom boasts the ability to boost gut health.
A research study conducted in 2010(16) determined that the polysaccharide extracts from Maitake mushrooms helped reduce the inflammation caused by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This benefit of the mushroom can help people lower the risk of colon and rectum cancers.
How To Consume Maitake Mushrooms?
The Maitake mushroom can be a part of a diet like other mushrooms to boost your health. But to take maitake D-fraction for the therapeutic purpose of treating cancer, you might need to take a higher dose.
The maitake mushroom dosage for cancer is still unclear, and further research is required to determine the scientific dosage. So, you need to consult your doctor before consuming the maitake mushroom supplements.
It would help if you were careful about unusual symptoms or discomfort. If you develop symptoms, you should stop taking the maitake mushrooms and see your healthcare provider.
What Are The Risks Involved?
Maitake mushroom is generally well tolerated. However, some common side effects need to be considered, such as:
- Stomach upset
- Allergic reactions: rashes, itching, hives, stomach cramps, difficulty in breathing, facial swelling
- Lowering blood sugar
- Lowering blood pressure
You should avoid taking maitake mushroom if you have any bleeding disorder or within two weeks of surgery.
Read More: Are you thinking of using cordyceps? See cordyceps dangers.
Is Maitake Mushroom Good For Cancer Patients?
Yes, maitake mushrooms are good for cancer patients. But you should consult your doctor about taking the maitake mushroom for cancer treatment and follow the doctor's advice regarding standard treatment options.
The maitake mushroom D-fraction extracts effectively treat and prevent various cancers like breast, liver, and lung cancer. However, the results are inconclusive. Therefore, it is impossible to recommend the maitake mushroom alone for cancer treatment.
So, if you would like to take maitake mushrooms as a supplement for your cancer treatment or to promote general health, you need to talk to your doctor and follow the doctor's advice.
Have you enjoyed Maitake mushrooms before? What was your experience with this functional food? Let us know in the comments.
- Maitake D-fraction: Healing and Preventive Potential for Cancer, (1)https://www.lawankanker.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Maitake-D-fraction.pdf
- Can Maitake MD-Fraction Aid Cancer Patients?, (2)https://www.lawankanker.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Can-MD-fraction-aid-cancer-patients.pdf
- Maitake Pro4X has anticancer activity and prevents oncogenesis in BALBc mice, (3)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cam4.744
- Maitake D-fraction: Healing and Preventive Potential for Cancer, (4)https://www.lawankanker.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Maitake-D-fraction.pdf
- Maitake D-fraction: Healing and Preventive Potential for Cancer, (5)https://www.lawankanker.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Maitake-D-fraction.pdf
- Diabetes and cancer: A comprehensive review, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6856544/
- Grifola frondosa (Maitake) Extract Reduces Fat Accumulation and Improves Health Span in C. elegans through the DAF-16/FOXO and SKN-1/NRF2 Signalling Pathways, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8620745/
- Grifola frondosa (Maitake) extract activates PPARδ and improves glucose intolerance in high-fat diet-induced obese mice, (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29873587/
- Obesity and Cancer, (9)https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/obesity/index.htm
- Inflammation and cancer, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803035/
- Immunity, Inflammation, and Cancer, (11)https://www.cell.com/fulltext/S0092-8674(10)00060-7
- Contribution of viral infection to risk for cancer in systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis, (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33481783/
- Isolation, identification and function of a novel anti-HSV-1 protein from Grifola frondosa, (13)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17475344/
- Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) enhances antibody production in response to influenza vaccination in healthy adult volunteers concurrent with alleviation of common cold symptoms, (14)https://ffhdj.com/index.php/ffhd/article/view/363
- Colorectal Cancer in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, (15)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29720903/
- Grifola frondosa water extract alleviates intestinal inflammation by suppressing TNF-α production and its signaling, (16)https://www.nature.com/articles/emm201016