Health benefits of maitake mushrooms when used as a dietary supplement include boosting the immune system, helping to ease the side effects of chemotherapy, lowering blood pressure and lowering blood glucose activity, notes the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The mushrooms may also help treat HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis and diabetes, reports WebMD.
In cancer treatment, the polysaccharide D-fraction increases immune system cells, including cytotoxic T cells, macrophages and helper T cells, which in turn work together to eliminate cancer cells, explains natural food and foraging website Wild Foodism. Studies have found that D-fraction eliminated cancer cells in breast and bladder cancer patients.
Maitake mushrooms used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine focus on enhancing the immune system to regulate blood pressure and lipids, according to U.S. Pharmacist. The mushroom's high vitamin, mineral, amino acid and fiber contents contribute to a healthy immune system, and studies in the late 1980s identified the protein-bound polysaccharide compound beta-glucan as the active catalyst.
Another study suggests that the mushroom's polysaccharides decrease blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, reports Today's Dietitian. The magazine also mentions that maitake mushrooms lower blood pressure and improve lipid profiles,helping to reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.