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Grifola frondosa is a medicinal mushroom, also known by its more common name, Maitake mushroom. This little mushroom is known for its ability to help balance blood sugar levels, which is an aid for people with diabetes. However, Grifola frondosa (maitake) is also being studied for its immunomodulatory (immune boosting) effects as well as its antitumor immunity properties.

According to a study by YW Tsao, YC Kuan, et al., there is a novel protein in Grifola frondosa (maitake) thatactivates dendritic cells and natural killer cells while also enhancing antitumor immunity in mice.

Antitumor immunity of Grifola frondosa (maitake)

Antitumor immunity

Grifola frondosa (maitake) is a culinary mushroom that enhances the mushroom and also has antitumor effects, according to the information provided by the researchers. Many of the studies done prior included the well-known activities of the polysaccharides in Grifola frondosa (maitake) for immunomodulating effects, but they wanted to study the maitake proteins since studies on them are more scarce.

In the study the researchers purified a new Grifola frondosa (maitake) protein called GFP (Grifola frondosa protein) from the fruiting bodies of the mushroom, which is a nonglucan heterodimeric protein. They found that the Grifola frondosa (maitake) protein induced the activity of dendritic cells and natural killer cells and “promoted a Th1 response and exhibited significant antitumor activity.”

The conclusions showed that these researcher were the first of its kind “to reveal the critical role of GFP [Grifola frondosa protein] in modulating the immune response and to link the immune-enhancing effects of maitake to itsantitumor activities.”

Antitumor immunity2

Although anyone taking Grifola frondosa (maitake) mushroom should check with their doctor in case of cancer or tumors, this edible mushroom is available fresh, dried, in powder or capsule form, and is typically readily available at health food stores or supplement shops. It is exciting to know that more studies are finally being done regarding the more rare topic of proteins in the Grifola frondosa (maitake) mushroom and its anti-tumor effects.



The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at and Vancouver Health News at  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a Today’s Word of Wisdom at

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