Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI): Mastering Medicinal Mushrooms
Founded in 1991 by Mike Shirota and Tomoko Nakamura, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI), Ridgefield Park, NJ, was formed to elucidate and progress the growing evidence behind the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. At the outset, the company focused its efforts on the Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushroom because it wanted to make the most of and further develop the body of research behind the mushroom. Although MPI is a known and respected leader in the research behind Maitake and will continue to specialize in this mushroom, the company has also branched out and developed a full line of other medicinal mushroom supplements. In addition, MPI sells bulk materials, including ingredients such as Maitake D-Fraction® and SX-Fraction®, to manufacturers of dietary supplements.
According to MPI, the Maitake mushroom started to gain recognition around the late 1980s when U.S. researchers realized it was more potent than any of the mushrooms previously studied. This is what drove the company’s founders to undertake additional research in this area. Today, research continues to be a main priority for the company, according to Donna Noonan, vice president, Marketing, who underlined its importance. “Research is vital to us, as we want to be 100% confident when we recommend our products and our trademarked raw materials to our customers,” she said. “Our ultimate goal at MPI is to contribute to the improvement in the health of our customers by providing reliable products along with legitimate research. As such, we make every effort to conduct our own studies on our own products and to support the U.S. health professionals that contribute to our success.” The company has also received an Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from FDA regarding its Grifron® Pro Maitake D-Fraction® for phase II trials for advanced breast and prostate cancer patients. The study has been underway at a hospital in New Jersey and the results are expected within the next few years.
Most recently MPI collaborated with Georgetown University and New York Medical College to carry out further investigations of its Maitake mushroom products. According to Ms. Noonan, these cooperative studies on the bore more fruit in 2003 when the company successfully identified and concentrated the (patent-pending) active component of Maitake responsible for amelioration of insulin resistance and maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels. As a result of these findings, the company launched Grifron SX-Fraction.
Going back in time, the very first product introduced by MPI was its Grifron Maitake caplet (tablets made from whole Maitake powder), which was developed based on research indicating its effectiveness for the maintenance of the immune system and cardiovascular health. This product was initially introduced to the healthcare practitioner channel but was eventually offered in other channels of distribution. In 1995, based on studies indicating anti-tumor activity, MPI launched Grifron Pro Maitake D-Fraction (tincture), which contains a standardized D-fraction as the active component. According to the company, this product had been enthusiastically accepted by healthcare professionals and has since become MPI’s flagship product.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary in 2001, MPI launched a full spectrum line of medicinal mushroom supplements, including Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Royal Agaricus (Agaricus blazei), Shiitake (Lentinus edodes), Tremella (Tremella fuciformis) and Turkey Tail (Coriolus versicolor), each fortified with D-Fraction and Bioperine®, under the brand name Mushroom Wisdom™.
This month MPI will launch a new product designed to fit into the lifestyles of busy consumers. This product, TMD Fraction®, is positioned as a time-release version of Maitake D-Fraction.
Ms. Noonan remains confident about the company’s position in the nutraceuticals marketplace going forward. “Our company is a prominent leader of medicinal mushroom supplements and will continue to grow, research and educate on all levels,” she commented.—R.M.W.
Maitake Products, Inc.
222 Bergen Turnpike
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
Telephone: 800-747-7418; 201-229-0101