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The Maitake mushroom is native to the mountains of Northeastern Japan, and an extract from this mushroom, called Maitake D is sold as a supplement. This mushroom is often used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to boost the immune system. Research has also suggested that it may be helpful in regulating glucose, blood pressure, insulin, serum lipids, and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids. It is also used in same cases to aid in weight loss.
Maitake is also full of vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium, D2, B2 and Niacin), fibers and amino acids.
Studies done in the 1980s were able to isolate the element of Maitake that helps boost immune activity: the protein-bound polysaccharide compound, beta-glucan.
Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa
Other Common Names: Ram’s Head mushroom, Hen of the Woods, Sheep’s Head mushroom.
How to get it: Maitake-D extract can be purchased at most stores that sell vitamins and supplements, including health food stores, and health-oriented supermarkets. It can also be ordered online. The processing and packaging of the mushroom extract can make a difference in terms of its quality and effectiveness. See Maitake-D shopping to learn more of the community opinion on the different brands.
Cost: Maitake is relatively expensive as supplements go. Depending on the brand and type of extract, you can expect to pay about $40 for a 30 day supply.
Chemical Structure: Maitake D-fraction is a highly standardized and purified beta-1,6 glucan (1,6 main chain with 1,3 branches in its chemical structure) and beta-1,3 glucan (1,3 main chain with 1,6 branches in its chemical structure)with about 30% of protein, extracted from Maitake mushroom fruit body. D-fraction has the unique polysaccharide compound.
Maitake is an edible mushroom that can be eaten as food, taken as an extract (Maitake-D) or made into tea. A typical dosage of dried maitake in capsule or tablet form is 3 to 7 g daily. However, more may be needed for use in fighting cancer and other diseases (usually the D extract is used in those cases).