If you’ve ever suffered from poor immunity, frequent colds, flu and other infections; you take ages to get over an illness or you’re worried about the prevalence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in your family – then this is an important blog post for you to read and take action on!
Here’s why . . .
If you don’t do anything, it tends to get worse!
At a time in history when these diseases are affecting more and more people, it’s safe to say we all should be adding as many disease-fighting substances to our arsenal as possible.
Maitake is one of the most promising medicinal mushrooms
Many nutritional extracts can help your body and immune system ‘adapt’ to what it is hit with every day. These ‘adaptogens’, are substances which produce a balancing effect on the immune system as well as helping the body to resist the negative effects of stress.
Extracts of the remarkable Maitake Mushroom are just one such adaptogen and contain powerful medicinal compounds and nutrients which offer a profound anti-inflammatory effect and can be used in assisting with the treatment of a wide range of diseases, from cancer to high cholesterol and even diabetes.
Like the Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms, the Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) has been used for many years as a powerful medicinal. Although Maitake is well-known in Japan, it only started gaining attention in the west, during the last 20 years.
Maitake is said to mean ‘dancing mushroom’ in Japanese. It is also known as the ‘hen of the woods’ and ‘king of mushrooms’ (due to its large size). The Maitake mushroom is a ‘polypore’, which means it has no ‘gills’ on the underside and releases spores through small pores.
Researchers have indicated that Maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids, and may also be useful for weight loss.
It’s high in nutrients including Vitamins B-2, C, D, niacin, magnesium, potassium, and amino acids. It’s shown to be beneficial for obesity and diabetic patients, however, the Maitake mushroom may be best known for its cancer-fighting ability.
Maitake is one of the most promising medicinal mushrooms. Like other polypores, Maitake is rich in polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system and modern medicine is starting to take note of the healing properties that Maitake mushrooms have to offer.
The Power of Polysaccharides
A polysaccharide is a complex carbohydrate made up of smaller sugar molecules. These long chain carbohydrate molecules hold within them many medicinal wonders, including stabilising blood pressure, blood sugar, and have an effect on fighting free radicals.
Specifically, the polysaccharide beta-glucans offers a profound anti-inflammatory effect and can be used in treating a wide range of diseases, from cancer to high cholesterol.
Beta-glucans are also suspected to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. The exact cancer-fighting action of these molecules is still not clear and is under study. Rather than attacking tumours themselves, researchers believe they stimulate the production of T cells to fight the afflicted cells.
Extracts of these helpful glucans from Maitake have been concentrated and used in supplements, and research has shown them to regress tumours, especially in breast, liver, and lung cancer.
Like most healing protocols, it can be helpful to combine with other therapeutic substances for maximum effect. Maitake’s effect will be better when combined with other antioxidants, such as Trans-Resveratrol (often sourced from Japanese Knotweed), Lycopene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Research shows that these antioxidants increase the absorption of polysaccharides in the body as well as provide their own biological actions.
In addition to fighting cancer, Maitake mushrooms show potential for helping other conditions as well.
Studies are ongoing into its action against:
- Cancer (especially breast, liver, and lung)
- Diabetes (may control blood glucose levels)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
A beta-glucan extract from the Maitake mushroom has been tested in numerous clinical trials because of its ability to activate cellular immunity. The reason that Maitake shows such great effectiveness is its ability to stimulate the white blood cells of the immune system, which are needed to fight cancers and immunity-related diseases.
One study showed that by activating natural immune killer cells, Maitake inhibited colon, lung, and melanoma cancer growth. It’s also been shown to activate the T-helper cells which play an important role in modulating the immune system and allowing other white blood cells to do their jobs fighting off cancers and other foreign invaders.
As mentioned before – Maitake combined with other antioxidants can deliver greater power. A study done in vitro using both the bioactive maitake extract (PDF) and vitamin C gave researchers hope for a potential alternative to conventional cancer therapy. “These studies showed that PDF (a particular extract from Maitake Mushroom) was indeed capable of modulating immunologic and hematologic parameters, inhibiting or regressing the cancer cell growth, and even improving quality of life of cancer patients, ” writes study author Sensuke Konno in a paper published by the International Journal of General Medicine.
A well-known human study on Maitake mushrooms was done by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in 2009 and published in the Journal of Cancer Research. It showed Maitake significantly stimulated the immune system of women with breast cancer, effectively stopping the progression immediately for some.
Protection from the Effect of Environmental Carcinogens
As part of our preventative wellness strategy, we often refer to the importance of eliminating exposure to chemicals including carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals. But what about when you are exposed unavoidably or perhaps have been exposed in the past?
One study exposed mice to a known carcinogen (that causes bladder cancer) every day for a period of eight weeks. All of the mice that were given the carcinogen developed bladder cancer. The mice were divided into three groups, and each group was fed a different type of mushroom: maitake, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. “While each of the mushrooms reduced the number of bladder cancers,” the researchers found “Maitake was clearly most effective.” The results of their study showed that, “carcinomas were observed in 46.7 percent of the maitake-treated mice compared to 52.9 percent and 65 percent for shiitake and oyster, respectively.”
Helpful for Diabetes Management
Diabetes rates continue to grow, and while modern medicine struggles to simply manage symptoms, nature has offered us an abundance of substances that have been proven to be quite effective.
There have been various studies that point to Maitake’s ability to lower blood glucose, increase insulin sensitivity, and help control diabetes. This makes perfect sense, since many other beta-glucan rich substances have shown a similar effect.
Maitake isn’t the only medicinal mushroom that can help with diabetes. Reishi mushrooms, Cordyceps and even the common button mushrooms are all useful. Taking a combination of these medicinal mushrooms, including Maitake is a good idea for anyone looking for a natural solution to diabetes.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors & Liver Health
Environmental chemical exposure and and unhealthy food choices can work against you and mean your Liver has to work hard! Chemical exposure and poor dietary habits can lead to fatty liver disease. One animal study showed that Maitake has the capacity to substantially inhibit an accumulation of liver lipids. Other studies have indicated that Maitake could perform well in conjunction with typical medical treatments for both lowering high blood pressure and certain types of cholesterol.
Hormone Disruption & Fertility
A small Japanese study showed that Maitake increases ovulation by normalizing the insulin-glucose feedback system in women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Typically an insulin sensitizing drug is given to induce ovulation, but Maitake proves to be a good natural alternative. If you’ve experienced infertility and you have diabetes . . . there is a link between the two.
Many natural therapy practitioners and function medical doctors suggest that at the root of all disease and pain in the body – is inflammation. Anytime the body is under stress our inflammatory response kicks in. This can be life saving or it can become chronically debilitating. Increasing the anti-inflammatory substances in our diets helps go a long way in supporting the best response. Maitake and the other medicinal mushrooms are all anti-inflammatory. This anti-inflammatory effect is one reason for Maitake’s power with cancer.
Maitake’s effects on the body are cumulative. So you probably won’t notice anything after using it just once or using it inconsistently. However, it can certainly be taken a higher dosages for a short period to help you get over an illness quicker . . . but has a more powerful effect on the body with consistent use. Because of its immune-modulating and adaptogenic effect – many people with long-term immune disorders find it effective with consistent use. Take it every day and be patient. It can take a few weeks to a few months to notice an effect.
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