Cholesterol Reduction and Weight Loss
Like shiitake, maitake may be effective in lowering cholesterol and helping the body eliminate excess fat. Data suggests that maitake mushrooms have the ability to alter lipid metabolism by inhibiting the formation of fat deposits, the accumulation of liver lipids, and the elevation of lipids in the blood.
Recent animal research in Japan has shown that high doses of maitake fed to rats on a high cholesterol diet significantly altered their fat metabolism, resulting in a much higher rate of cholesterol excretion than that of control rats on the same diet, but without maitake. In just four weeks the maitake-fed rats excreted 300% more cholesterol in their feces than the control group. The maitake-fed rats also had much lower body weight, body fat, and serum cholesterol than the control animals.
Taking the clue from animal studies, a Tokyo clinic tested the effects of maitake on 30 overweight patients. Without making other changes in their diet, Masamori Yokota, MD., gave patients both dried and powdered maitake (equivalent to 200 grams of fresh maitake) daily for two months. Yokota reported that maitake is more effective than any other regimen he has ever tested. During the relatively short time of the experiment, all of his patients lost weight and got nearly halfway to their optimal weight. Weight loss ranged between 11 pounds and 26 pounds; the average person lost 11-13 pounds.