Could medicinal mushrooms be the new Acai berry? According to the San Diego-based company NRG Matrix, yes, and they've assembled a team of talent here in San Diego to prove it. Not commonly accepted into American culture as a source of energy, mushrooms have long been a supplement critical to the dietary and medicinal needs of Asian cultures, revered to have healing powers. In a society increasingly defined by an "on-the-go" mentality, medicinal mushrooms could be the secret to a healthy future of energy supplements.
The Origin of NRG Matrix
Founded in 2009 by Dr. Sandra Carter, Matrix HealthWerks Inc. started out as purely an ingredient company. Still working in consulting, Carter saw the potential to transform the company into a retail based project, so bought the company. Growing ten different species of medicinal mushrooms, the company produces and sells ingredients for providers around the world.
Carter articulates her goal as not only providing a product that will act as a source of energy, but will help boost the body's immune system, and act to noticeably improve health.
“As someone who has made a career of health and wellness, I have been fascinated by the energy drink craze and the lack of truly healthy options," said Dr. Sandra Carter, founder and CEO of Matrix HealthWerks, parent company of NRG Matrix. "This is the perfect solution for those who are wary of energy drinks currently on the market."
Noticing the increasing popularity of energy drinks, Carter expanded to include retail production, and in 2011 she launched NRG Matrix, the San Diego-based producer of "mycelial-based nutriceutical products formulated for human, equine, and animal consumption."
Jumping on the "innovative trend," Carter explains the three components that differentiate NRG Matrix from other energy options:
- Initial cognitive awareness and focus
- Long duration and production of ATP to produce energy all day
- Immune system boost
With a booming market in energy drinks and supplements, the timing of NRG could not be more fitting. Americans are living increasingly busy lives, constantly on the go, with few healthy options for energy. The product, CEO Sandra Carter explains, is not an energy drink, nor is it solely a supplement. The San Diego based company takes pride in the nutrient-rich product produced on-site in San Marcos, describing it as a "whole food."
"It's the sum of the parts that's so important, more so than isolated ingredients," Carter touts.
Unlike other energy drinks, NRG Matrix contains 100% organic and natural ingredients, with no added sugar.
Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Revered for thousands of years in many Asian cultures for its healing powers, medicinal mushrooms are scientifically proven to have multiple health benefits, functioning to increase the cell's ability to produce and process ATP, providing the body with extended amounts of energy.
Endless amounts of research point to the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms, with the City of Hope recently receiving a $15 million grant to study the potential preventative and healing powers of the ingredient to breast cancer patients. According to a study led by City of Hope researchers back in 2007,
"White button mushrooms, the garden-variety fungi so common in the kitchen, may help prevent breast cancer by suppressing estrogen production in the body."
On the NRG Matrix team is mycology expert Steve Farrar, whose experience earns him the title of "yoda of the mushroom world." Having worked in mycology, or the branch of biology associated with the study of mushrooms, for 30 years, Farrar has spoken and consulted with experts worldwide. At NRG Matrix, he traveled across the world to select the 10 mushroom species to be cultivated at the San Marcos indoor facility.
The Future of NRG Matrix
NRG Matrix has already seen tremendous success, being accepted into Whole Foods on the East Coast with hopes to introduce the product into other regions in the next 6-9 months. You can also find the product at San Diego Farmers Markets in Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, and San Marcos.
San Diego outreach will include visiting local business, fitness centers, yoga studios, trainers, and health stores. Because of its ability to produce ATP, targeting the NRG Matrix to athletic communities in San Diego will be an integral part of their strategy moving forward. The small yet talented team of 17 will rely on grassroots efforts to spread the word and build a loyal and enthused fan base.
While there is interest overseas, Carter articulates that her intention is "to very carefully build the company in the United States first and foremost." The "boots on the ground" approach will cultivate a community of people who will in turn, act as advocates for the product, sharing it with their friends, families, and communities. From there, Carter hopes the product will reach markets abroad.