Maitake D-Fraction Benefits

Maitake D-Fraction Benefits - Lucid™

Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries, but have more recently gained significant attention for their potential health benefits. One mushroom that stands out is the Maitake mushroom, renowned for its active compound known as "D-Fraction,” sometimes mistakenly called “maitake fraction-D.” If you’re diving into the world of medicinal mushrooms, we’re here to set the record straight. 

What is Maitake D-Fraction? And what are its benefits? Follow us as we explore the science.

Key Takeaways

D-fraction is a standardized form of beta-glucans extracted from Maitake.

Research is limited, but it may have a positive impact on immunity, inflammation and blood sugar levels, weight management, and more.

The quality of your maitake supplement greatly affects the concentration of beta-glucans and therefore the benefits you will experience.

What is Maitake Mushroom?

Maitake, scientifically known as Grifola frondosa, is a large mushroom native to Japan and parts of North America. It has been a staple in traditional Asian medicine for centuries, with a reputation for supporting the immune system and promoting overall health.

Maitake has made a name for itself as a powerful medicinal mushroom that functions as an adaptogen. That means it may "adapt" to the body's needs in order to resolve imbalances that cause various mental and physical challenges.

Of course, to reap its potential medicinal benefits, people look for Maitake in powdered or encapsulated form, a preparation that has a much longer shelf life than the fresh mushroom itself. Now, proponents of medicinal mushrooms are much more vocal about choosing maitake extract supplements, which are rich in bioactive compounds, specifically D-fraction. 

What is Maitake D-Fraction?

At the heart of Maitake's health benefits lies a bioactive compound called "D-Fraction." 

D-Fraction is the standardized form of protein-bound beta-glucans that are extracted from the fruit bodies of Maitake. Beta-glucans are polysaccharides that make up fungal tissues, and they have been shown to have an active impact on the human body. Specifically, these bioactive carbohydrates may have immune-modulating effects. 

Maitake’s increase in popularity has driven researchers to look further into these purported benefits, and especially into the benefits of D-Fraction. As a standardized formula, many believe that they can bring more therapeutic benefit than the whole maitake mushroom. 

Research Backed Benefits of D-Fraction Maitake Supplements

Although there are many suggested benefits of maitake, some specifically center around D-fraction. Others are related to generalized extracts or whole mushroom formulations. According to research, here are some of the potential benefits related to D-fraction:

1. Immune System Support

1.1 Boosting Immune Response

One of the most significant benefits of Maitake D-Fraction is its potential to strengthen the immune system. Research suggests that the polysaccharides in D-Fraction can activate various immune cells, such as T-cells and macrophages, enhancing the body's ability to fight off infections and diseases.

1.2 Supporting Natural Killer (NK) Cells

Natural Killer cells are a type of white blood cell critical for identifying and destroying abnormal cells in the body, including tumor cells. Maitake D-Fraction has been shown to stimulate NK cell activity, bolstering the body's defense against various health threats.

2. Managing Blood Sugar Levels

For individuals struggling to manage their blood sugar levels, Maitake D-Fraction may offer a glimmer of hope. Studies indicate that the mushroom extract could enhance insulin sensitivity and improve glucose metabolism, making it potentially beneficial for people with diabetes.

One study found that a Maitake extract was able to improve insulin sensitivity by altering the gut microbiome in animal models. Another study confirmed that a liquid extract of Maitake mushrooms was able to reduce symptoms of Type 2 diabetes in rats. More evidence is needed to fully understand this application, but maitake extract may have some overall positive support on blood sugar regulation.  

3. Combating Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. The buildup of free radicals can damage cells and contribute inflammation, which is a precursor to aging and various diseases. Maitake D-Fraction is a potent source of antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their harmful effects, which may enhance its anti-inflammatory benefits.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Chronic inflammation is at the root of many health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, and certain digestive disorders. Maitake D-Fraction's anti-inflammatory properties have shown promise in mitigating inflammation and its associated discomfort.

In one animal study, maitake extract reduced inflammation by suppressing various inflammatory proteins. The same study found that Maitake extract blocked inflammatory pain caused by skin irritation and stomach cramps.

5. Stabilizing Blood Pressure

Studies have found that D-fraction may reduce not only inflammation, but also hypertension (high blood pressure) in rats. According to various studies (1989, 2010, 2012) it may help by limiting the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which is the same way that some blood pressure medications work. 

6. Supporting Weight Loss

In a few studies (1987, 2002) focused on Maitake's ability to help lower blood pressure, researchers found that maitake also improved metabolic health and fat metabolism. 

How to Reap the Benefits of Maitake D-Fraction

In order to explore the true advantages of D-fraction, you need a high-quality maitake extract supplement. Not all mushroom supplements are made equal, so you have to make sure you understand how to choose a high-quality, fruiting body extract. Here’s why:

Not All Maitake Supplements Contain D-Fraction

In fact, some maitake supplements are really lacking in the bioactive department. For instance, a whole mushroom powder may contain all of maitake’s bioactive beta-glucans, but they are not bioavailable. That’s because beta-glucans are locked away in the mushroom’s chitin layers, making them nearly impossible for the human body to break down.

For this reason, you need to choose an extract product. Mushroom extracts have already had the chitin broken down, unleashing and activating the bioactive components. These types of products, when well-made, are the best choice for reaping the therapeutic benefits of maitake D-fraction. 

Choose Single-Extracted, 100% Fruiting Body Extracts

The best extracts are made from maitake fruiting bodies and NOT mushroom mycelium.

Mycelium is the underground “root” network that helps the fruiting body sustain life, and many manufacturers will toss this portion into their supplement mix. It’s a cheap way to add bulk, and the final product can still be marketed as a maitake extract. However, mycelium is lacking in beta-glucans, and this type of formula will usually contain a very low concentration of beta-glucan, if any at all.

The fruiting body extract should be made via single, hot water extraction. Some manufacturers use a double-extraction process, but the alcohol used in the second step may be detrimental to the beta-glucan content. Read "Hot Water, Alcohol, or Dual Extraction for Mushroom Supplements? Selecting the Best Extraction Method” to learn more.

If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps,  Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more. 

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