Monday, April 16, 2012

15) Maitake MD-fraction, Maitake Gold 404

Maitake MD-fraction has been shown in various studies to (1) exhibit strong anticancer activity by increasing macrophage, natural killer (NK) cell, and cytotoxic T-cell activity; (2) induce death in and slow the growth of cancer cells; (3) prevent the spread of cancer cells and (4) protect healthy cells from becoming cancerous. It also may work in conjunction with chemotherapy to lesson chemo related side effects. Identified as Maitake D-fraction in 1984 by Dr. Nanba of Kobe Pharmaceutical University, he later purified his extraction from the Maitake mushroom into Maitake MD-fraction, under patent Number 5,854,404 which is said to be around 30% more bioactive than his original formula.
In one study a combination of MD-fraction and whole Maitake powder was investigated to determine its effectiveness for 22- to 57-year-old cancer patients in stages II-IV. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58.3 percent of liver cancer patients, 68.8 percent of breast cancer patients, and 62.5 percent of lung cancer patients; though the trial found a less than 10-20 percent improvement for leukemia, stomach cancer, and brain cancer patients. Unfortunately there has been little human research and clinical trials studying Maitake and Prostrate Cancer. A 2001 study conducted at the Toya Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan found that Maitake polysaccharides increased the killing power of macrophage immune cells, and another study by researchers at the New York Medical College, found that beta-glucan, a polysaccharide from Maitake, drastically slowed the growth of Prostate cancer cells, causing a nearly complete cancer cell death. Obviously more clinical studies are needed.

In addition to its reported cancer fighting qualities Maitake supplementation has also been used to regulate blood pressure, glucose and insulin, serum and liver lipids, and even for weight loss. There have been few reported side effects from taking Maitake MD-fraction. It appears the one area of concern is that Maitake can lower blood sugar and therefore those with low blood sugar should consult with their doctor before taking this supplement.

There is little hard data about dosage for Maitake MD-fraction. Many reports appear to recommend 0.5 to 1.0mg for each 2 pounds of body weight. I have chosen to start on the low end of this scale, taking 45mg of the Maitake MD-fraction per day and await the results. It is best taken on an empty stomach.


  1. A word of caution (warning: this is a downer - sorry!!):

    I have a lot of inside information on this topic.

    First I want to make clear that there is a big misunderstanding in terminology. And it has to do with the words D fraction or MD fraction. The MD-fraction is a more pure form of the D-fraction (developed in the 80s)

    These phrases were originally coined by Prof. Nanba (Kobe Pharmaceutical University) to label a range of fractions he purified from an extract of the Maitake mushroom.
    He found that the purified, high molecular weight 1,6 beta glucans with 1,3 branches in this fraction (labeled D => the fourth fraction)) had significant activity for triggering immunocompetent cells.

    He and his group of researchers have been publishing for over 15 years in Japan using these labels to describe their patent protected extract. And their research results are promising. See Pubmed for abstracts - just use Nanba in combination with Maitake)

    Here is the downer: these terms "D fraction" and "MD fraction" have been trademarked by an American company, who also sells their own type of Maitake extracts. They do NOT use Nanba's patented fractionation protocol, but a proprietary process and refuse to reveal any details about this.

    So, at first sight it appears that many years of research in Japan and clinical trials at Sloan Kettering all are done on the commercial "D fraction" of "MD-fraction" products as sold in America. But that is not the case.

    Please understand that the word "D fraction / MD-fraction" published in most scientific papers is absolutely NOT the same as the "D fraction" being sold to you at your health food store.

    The "D fraction" that is made by Dr. Nanba and his research team is a patented extract that has been further purified by chromatography methods to produce a super concentrated family of high molecualar weight compounds. It cannot be bought in the market place anywhere in the world because it is only an experimental scientific compound and no company currently makes this to sell.

    Emphasising: "you cannot actually buy the real D fraction / MD fraction as described by Dr. Nanba anywhere in the world. It's not for sale. It does not exist on the market". The production process is so complicated that a gram of pure MD-fraction would cost ± 5000 USD to produce (Information derived from correspondence with a manufacturer).

    The closest you can get to the real thing is the Maitake 404 product (a gravely diluted version of the pure MD-fraction produced by Nanba) mixed with unprocessed Maitake powder (indigestible for most people; see this link for the technical explanation:

    Only 20% glucans are guaranteed in Maitake404 (aka Maitake gold) , which makes this product not more potent than other mushroom extracts on the market, such as properly processed Chaga or Reishi.

    A new product called Grifolan seems to be closer to the actual MD-fraction properties (as described in there patent). They disclose in great detail the composition and production process, which is promising.

    So issues about optimal dosage concentration and the dosages published in scientific papers do not correspond with any available Maitake extracts on the market.

    I don't want to be a downer. Because actually I am a huge believer in the immune enhancing effects of Mushroom extracts.

    But I just wanted to shed some light on this subject, since I appear to be one of the few people who have had access to this information and spend time to read all the information.

    Hope this helps to clarify the very blury naming and terminology surrounding this issue.

    1. Aloha Da Bomb,

      Thank you for your comments. The entire goal of this Blog is to help others make some informed decisions about their prostate cancer treatment and available options. In your comments, you bring up some important points.

      When I originally wrote the article on Maitake-MD Fraction I realized that there were many Maitake supplements available with varying degrees of credibility. After my research and discussing products with various companies, I decided to focus on Maitake Gold 404. It was the best of those available at the time.

      Now with your comments, I have recontacted the the Mataike Gold 404 seeking clarification about their product especially when it comes to their extraction process, available glucans-polysaccharides, and their Certificate of Analysis. I will be publishing their answers here as soon as they are received.

      Since you appear to also be very informed about this process, I would greatly appreciate you contacting me at '' so we may setup a direct conversation about this topic.

      I am looking forward to speaking with you directly, and I appreciate your help.

      Best wishes, Steve in Seattle

    2. I came across this in searching for the extract as my father is suffering from bladder cancer. it appears you can get the real MD fraction it just cost a huge amount especially used at therapuetic recommendations of 400mg of md fraction a day.

      I have purchased instead D-fraction by mushroom wisdom even though later I found out that they were the ones to patent the name 'd-fraction' in the u.s they have done a great deal it would seem to push foreward the maitake beta glucan in the u.s market,getting IND(innovative new drug) status from the FDA and partnering with various universities supplying the materials.Also what brought it to my attention was this