The effect of Maitake extract was explored as to its ability to induce ovulation in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in comparison with and in combination with clomiphene citrate (CC). An open trial was conducted in 80 women with PCOS at three different clinics in Japan. Seventy two patients were randomized and 36 received Maitake extract and 36 received CC for up to 12 weeks. Eighteen patients who did not respond to either the Maitake extract or the CC were then given a combination of Maitake extract and CC for up to 16 weeks. Eight patients with a history of failure to CC received the combination therapy from the beginning of the study.
The Maitake extract tablets contained 18 mg of an extract called “SX-fraction” (MSX), a water-soluble glycoprotein, and 250 mg of dried Maitake mushroom powder. Each patient was given 3 tablets, 3 times a day. For those who received the CC, they were given 50 mg/day from days 5 to 9 of menses and repeated up to 3 cycles. For patients who then took the combination, the same dosing regimen was used.
Twenty-six patients in the MSX group and 31 in the CC group were evaluated for ovulation with pelvic ultrasounds. The ovulation rate for MSX was 76.9% (20/26) and 93.5% (29/31) for CC. For the combination treatment, 7 of 7 patients who failed the MSX monotherapy and 6 of 8 patients who failed the CC monotherapy demonstrated ovulation.
Commentary: This study demonstrated the ability of a Maitake extract to induce ovulation in patients with PCOS and can be used as a monotherapy or as an adjunct to clomiphene citrate. The ovulation rate of 76.9% is quite impressive, even though the clomiphene citrate rate was much better at 93.5%.
Maitake extract is reported to modulate serum glucose levels, reduce blood pressure, optimize serum lipids and enhance insulin sensitivity in animal studies, all important core issues in women with PCOS.
Chen J, Tominaga K, Sato Y, et al. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) extract induces ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a possible monotherapy and a combination therapy after failure with first-line clomiphene citrate. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2010;12(12):1295-1299