Objective: To determine the efficacy of maitake mushrooms in inhibiting the elevation of liver and serum lipids in rats.
Design: Sprague-Dawley rats with hyperlipidemia were used to measure and compare the values of cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides between cholesterol-fed rats and rats whose diets were fortified with 20% maitake mushroom dried powder.
Results: The values in maitake-fed rats were consistently less than those in the basic cholesterol-fed rats. The value of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which usually is decreased by taking high-cholesterol feed, maintained the level that it had at the beginning of the experiment. Weights of extirpated liver and epididymal fat pads were significantly less than those in the basic feed group.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that maitake mushrooms have the ability to alter lipid metabolism by inhibiting both the accumulation of liver lipids and the elevation of serum lipids. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism of activity of maitake mushrooms and to establish whether their action in humans is similar to that in the animal model tested here.