A Dundalk entrepreneur has told how his battle with multiple sclerosis inspired him to launch a plant-based immune support powder – with the first batch launched last month selling out in less than a week.
Dr Conor Kerley, who is originally from Oliver Plunkett Park in town, is founder of the supplement business Phytaphix, which is based at the Regional Development Centre in Dundalk.
The doctor of nutrition was due to launch his company just as the Covid-19 pandemic hit but that didn’t stop the determined businessman.
Dr Kerley turned his attention to developing a new plant-based product that helps boost the immune system called Immune Phix – and people have been snapping it up since it went on sale last month.
He told how being diagnosed with MS as a teenager started him on his path of health and nutrition.
“Just before my 15th birthday in 2002 I got very sick and had to spend a lot of time in hospital”, he said.
“And just after I turned 16, I was diagnosed with MS.
“I had to relearn how to walk, how to tie my shoelaces – everything.
“Before I got sick, I was a sports fanatic and loved being active, I played GAA with the Clans, soccer with Rangers and baseketball with Dundalk.
“After being diagnosed with MS I developed a real interest in food, health and nutrition.”
Dr Kerley, who attended the Marist Secondary School in Dundalk, went on to study human nutrition and dietetics at Trinity College Dublin before completing his clinical doctorate with the School of Medicine at University College Dublin and Connolly Hospital Dublin.
He was head hunted to work in a medical centre in Washington DC and went to Australia to present his work on blood pressure management before deciding to return home to concentrate on his own research.
He has published 30 scientific papers in medical and scientific journals and won multiple national and international awards for his research including winning the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation NRDF award in 2019 and being a finalist in 'Emerging Technologies' global Competition of The Royal Society of Chemistry this year.
After spending a year lecturing at Technology University of Dublin he decided to quit his job to concentrate fully on developing his plan- based products that can help combat conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes.
Dr Kerley said he was due to launch his business in March but the pandemic restrictions prevented that from happening, so he turned his attention to developing an immune support product called Immune Phix.
He told the Democrat: “For the whole of last year I concentrated on developing products aiming to help to reduce blood pressure and blood sugars.
“They were set to start undergoing clinical trials in hospitals in March just as Covid-19 took hold and put a stop to them happening.
“I didn’t know if Covid-19 was here for six months, a year or even longer so I decided to turn my attention to developing a plan- based product to help boost the immune system.
“I always had an interest in immune issues due to living with MS.
“Since March I dedicated my time to developing the immune product and we started trading on October 12th from Phytaphix - where Phyt means plant – which is based at the Regional Development Centre, DKIT.
“Since the launch of Immune Phix last month we have sold out our first batch and are now selling our second batch with orders throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Romania as well as interest from Germany, Scandanaiva, Canada and USA.
“Immune Phix, which is an immune support, nutrition formula formulated based on my own research and expertise, is provided as a convenient and delicious berry flavoured power and suitable for addition to any food or drink.
“We are proud to say we are a 100% Irish company, manufactured in Ireland, packaged in Ireland and it contains Irish ingredients.”
Dr Kerley said that a single dose of five grams, roughly a teaspoon, contains the same amount of vitamin C as 13 tangerines, vitamin D3 as five glasses of Supermilk, vitamin B12 equivalent to 250 g of sirloin beef, the same amount of zinc as 75 Brazil nuts, magnesium equivalent to 30 prunes, the same amount of selenium as 2,500 sunflower seeds, the same antioxidant score as five large carrots and the same amount of ECG flavonoids as in 15,000 bananas.
The formula also comprises vitamin D3 from marine algae; magnesium from the waters off the Irish coast; vitamin B12 from Irish mushrooms, and Japanese organic Matcha green tea.
Dr Kerley said that supporting our immune system is especially important in winter as people do their best to avoid contracting colds, flus and the coronavirus.
The product can be bought via 0831458796 and firstname.lastname@example.org and on their Phytaphix’s social media on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and their website https://phytaphix.ie which will go live in the coming weeks.
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