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Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, and oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms. The uncontrolled production of oxygen-derived free radicals is involved in the onset of many diseases (including cancer) as well as in the degenerative processes associated with aging.
In order to reduce free radical damage to the human body, synthetic antioxidants are used for industrial processing, however, the most commonly used synthetic antioxidants have been suspected of being responsible for liver damage and carcinogenesis. Thus, according to the studies below, it is essential to develop and utilize effective and natural antioxidants such as Maitake and other medicinal mushroom extracts that can protect the human body from free radicals and delay the progress of many chronic diseases.
in-Vivo Study: anti-angiogenic activity of a water extract of the fruiting body of Maitake was examined, suggesting Maitake as a valuable medicinal food for treatment of angiogenesis-associated human diseases. (1)
in-Vitro Study: Ethanolic, cold-water and hot-water extracts of Maitake were investigated for their antioxidant properties. Maitake extracts were effective in the following order: ethanolic > hot-water > cold-water. The Maitake hot-water extract showed high scavenging ability on superoxide anions. Total phenols, flavonoids, ascorbic acid and α-tocopherol are the major antioxidant components found in the various Maitake extracts. Based on the values obtained, the various extracts from Maitake investigated in this study display potent anti-oxidative properties. (2)
in-Vitro Study: Another study focused in isolating anti-oxidants from Maitake mushroom, showing to be effective against other reactive molecules found in our bodies, including the hydroxyl radical and the superoxide radical. These molecules may play a critical role in several diseases, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and myocardial infarction. (3)