The Most Important Supplement To Take If You’re On Statins, Plant-Based Compounds That Increase Testosterone & Bone Density, Japanese Anti-Aging Secrets & More With Dr. Barrie Tan.

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Experiencing muscle discomfort from statins? Curious about natural ways to alleviate these symptoms and boost your heart health?

In this episode, explore the role of geranylgeraniol (GG) and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in supporting muscles affected by statins with repeat guest, Dr. Barrie Tan, the world’s foremost expert on annatto, geranylgeraniol (GG), vitamin K in the form of MK-4 and vitamin E in the form of tocotrienols. Get ready to discover the benefits of these essential compounds that support cardiovascular health and muscle function, especially in individuals taking statins.

A scientist first and foremost, Dr. Tan earned his Ph.D. in chemistry/biochemistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and spent several years as a professor at UMass. Dr. Tan has committed himself to the research and development of phytonutrients — natural compounds found in plants that reduce and slow chronic disorders.

Dr. Tan is credited with discovering a form of vitamin E called tocotrienol from three major sources: palm, rice, and annatto — a natural dye and food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, known for its potential health benefits, including antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Editor of two prestigious books on tocotrienol and founder of the International Tocotrienol Conference, Dr. Tan was dubbed the “Tocotrienol King” by Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist.

Dr. Tan has held roles of Chief Scientific Officer and Scientific Board Member for multinational organizations. His career includes periods working in association with the US Armed Forces and a Prince of Thailand. He has successfully launched multiple businesses in the nutrition industry and owns an array of patents and intellectual property, keeping him at the forefront of scientific innovation.

He is an internationally celebrated and sought-after speaker, having presented at multiple respected conferences in the field including; IFT, ADA, ASN, IHS, A4M, NPA, AACR, ICIM, IAOMT, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Dr. Tan is currently the President of American River Nutrition, a natural health R&D company he started with his wife, Elizabeth, in 1998. Described as a scientific pioneer, his mission is simple: improve the everyday health of people’s lives through the rigorous application of DeltaGold® – the first-ever tocopherol-free tocotrienol product extracted from annatto, and the most potent form of vitamin E in existence today.

Oh, and just to simplify things for you, here's a quick overview of some of Dr. Tan's formulations for Designs for Health (use code BEN15 to save 15%):

  • Annatto-E: This product offers pure tocotrienols from annatto, without tocopherols. Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E that provide antioxidant protection, supporting heart health, reducing inflammation, and protecting against neurodegenerative diseases. Annatto-E is beneficial for those seeking antioxidant support without the interference of tocopherols (which are more readily absorbed, potentially reducing the effectiveness of tocotrienols). Annatto-E, containing only tocotrienols, is preferred for those seeking antioxidant support without interference from tocopherols.
  • Annatto-E GG: Annatto-E GG provides tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E derived from annatto, combined with geranylgeraniol (GG). Tocotrienols are potent antioxidants that protect cells from damage and have anti-inflammatory properties. GG supports the synthesis of CoQ10, testosterone, and skeletal muscle protein, making it beneficial for overall health and wellness, particularly for individuals dealing with chronic conditions.
  • TRI-K: This product contains a combination of vitamins K1 and K2 (MK-4), along with geranylgeraniol (GG). Vitamin K is essential for bone and cardiovascular health. Vitamin K2, specifically MK-4, helps ensure that calcium is properly directed to the bones, keeping arteries and soft tissues healthy. Geranylgeraniol (GG) is crucial for the synthesis of skeletal muscle protein and plays a role in testosterone production, making it beneficial for maintaining muscle mass, especially as you age.
  • CoQnol: CoQnol combines ubiquinol (active CoQ10) with geranylgeraniol (GG). CoQ10 is a crucial antioxidant that supports energy production in cells and protects against oxidative stress. When taking statin medications, which can deplete CoQ10 levels, supplementing with CoQ10 can help maintain energy levels and muscle health. Geranylgeraniol (GG) is essential for CoQ10 synthesis and testosterone production, making this combination beneficial for overall health, especially for individuals on statins or seeking to support muscle function.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Who is Dr. Barrie Tan?…05:43

-What is GG?…08:14


  • Geranylgeraniol (GG)  — a natural compound found in essential oils, known for its pleasant aroma and potential health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Discovered the annatto plant 25 years ago in South America 
  • Researched why the color did not degrade
  • Discovered 2 compounds
    • Tocotrienol — a form of vitamin E that is found in certain vegetable oils, nuts, grains, and seeds, known for its antioxidant properties and potential health benefits, including supporting heart health, reducing inflammation, and protecting against neurodegenerative diseases — Annatto-E
    • Annatto GG
  • The Truth about Vitamin E: The Secret to Thriving with Annatto Tocotrienols
  • Tocotrienols: Vitamin E Beyond Tocopherols
  • Reduces inflammation 
  • Many published studies and clinical research on chronic condition

-What is the difference between tocotrienol and GG?…11:51

  • Tocotrienol and GG are 2 separate compounds
  • The plant annatto uses GG to make tocotrienol vitamin E
  • GG compound is the last common step between plants and mammals
    • Plants have color because of GG — all chlorophyll comes from GG
    • In humans, without GG there is no hemoglobin
  • GG is an essential building block for the production of
    • Testosterone
    • Menaquinone-4 (vitamin K2)
    • CoQ10
    • Skeletal muscle
  • Exercise stimulates the body to make GG
  • GG is required for the synthesis of skeletal muscle protein
  • American River Nutrition
    • The first company to produce GG
  • Annatto grows only in tropical places or botanical gardens

-What is the difference between tocotrienol and tocopherol?…18:44

  • Common vitamin E available for sale is tocopherol
  • Tocotrienol's main sources are palm and annatto
    • Annatto tocotrienol is 100% pure with no tocopherol
    • From palm, there is 25% of tocopherol that cannot be separated
  • Annatto-E (use code BEN15 to save 15%)
  • Tocopherol
    • Interferes with the function of tocotrienol
    • Doesn’t need to be supplemented — the intake of tocopherol you get from food is enough
  • Tocotrienol is needed to protect the cell walls
  • Isn’t a vitamin E complex better than just tocotrienol? Like a vitamin B complex?
    • It’s a marketing narrative
    • Tocopherol is antagonistic to tocotrienol
  • Like lutein and beta carotene:
    • Lutein — a naturally occurring carotenoid pigment found in fruits, vegetables, and other plants, known for its antioxidant properties and its role in promoting eye health, particularly in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
    • Beta carotene — a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables, that the body converts into vitamin A, essential for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and a strong immune system
    • Lutein and beta carotene are part of the family of carotene
    • Beta carotene interferes with the absorption of lutein
  • The intake of tocopherol you get from food is enough

-Which annatto should you take?…28:24

  • Tocotrienol
  • GG
  • Annatto-E GG
  • Annatto-E doesn’t have Annatto-GG
  • Annatto-GG doesn’t have Annatto-E
  • The function of GG is quite different from that of the tocotrienol Annatto-E
  • For chronic conditions — get Annatto-E (use code BEN15 to save 15%)
  • To get the benefits of the two — get Annatto-E GG (use code BEN15 to save 15%)

-What is the link between CoQ10 and statins?…30:51

-What is the link between GG and testosterone?…45:08

  • GG directly increases muscle protein synthesis
  • GG increases testosterone
  • GG makes CoQ10 because the building block of CoQ10 comes from GG
  • Testosterone maintains muscle mass
  • Japanese scientists' research on GG and testosterone
    • How do you increase muscle mass in older people?
    • Testosterone is essential for increasing muscle mass
    • Found the connection between testosterone and GG
    • GG increases testosterone
  • Dr. Barrie Tan's research on GG and testosterone:

-Why should you take MK-4 and GG?…48:32

  • MK-4 — menaquinone-4 is a form of vitamin K2, which is important for bone health and cardiovascular health (specifically for plaque) and may have other health benefits, such as supporting dental health and promoting healthy skin 
  • MK-1 — menaquinone-1 is a subtype of vitamin K2 found in fermented foods, and plays a role in blood clotting and bone health
    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Partly from the human body and partly from plants
  • GG combined with the degradation products of MK-1 generates MK-4 endogenous
  • As we age, we don't make enough GG, then it's very difficult to make MK-4
  • In the body:
    • 5% of calcium is in soft tissue, 95% of calcium is in the bone
    • Having 6% calcium in soft tissue and 94% in the bone, that's already a problem:
      • Gall stones
      • Kidney stones
      • Calcified arteries
  • MK-4 keeps the 5%-95% balance
  • Taking MK-4 with vitamin D
  • TRI-K (use code BEN15 to save 15%)
    • Has vitamins K1 and K2 (MK-4)
    • Has GG
  • Dr. Barrie Tan especially is encouraging post-menopausal age women to take TRI-K (use code BEN15 to save 15%) 
    • Body estrogen has dropped
    • Bones are not able to retain calcium

-And much more…

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Dr. Barrie Tan:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Dr. Barrie Tan or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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12 thoughts on “The Most Important Supplement To Take If You’re On Statins, Plant-Based Compounds That Increase Testosterone & Bone Density, Japanese Anti-Aging Secrets & More With Dr. Barrie Tan.

  1. Peter Damianidis says:

    Ben, n this episode you mentioned about taking K1 MK4 to help with calcium movement into bones. I have always read and heard (from Mercola, you in previous podcasts, and others) that K2 MK7 is the one that does this. Is this an oversight/error or have I missed the bulletin?

    1. MK-4 and MK-7 are both forms of vitamin K2 that are found in dietary supplements. Both help with calcium metabolism and bone health by activating proteins that incorporate calcium into bone tissue. However, MK-7 remains available to support calcium use in the body longer than MK-4

  2. Rob says:

    Ben In the episode you mentioned giving into taking statins. Have you looked into PCSK9 inhibitor injections? I was considering this with my cardiologist. Sorry if you covered this on a previous podcast, but I missed a few months of shows.

  3. Marni Harker says:

    Competitive cyclist, post menopausal woman, taking a stain… Which would be best of all the GG formulations.

    1. bob says:

      You could probably get by with the Annatto E GG and Tri K combo.

  4. Laura says:

    If as you age, you need Vit E for the antioxidant effect, GG (esp if on a statin), and MK4 for Ca/K balance which of the supplements talked about should you take? Annatto E GG, CoQnol, or Tri K? They all have GG in them so probably shouldn’t take them all. I am on a statin, I do have a fair amount of stressors, and I am female.

    1. I recommend Annatto E GG and Tri K combo

    2. Laura says:

      Thanks for responding…
      And what about Vit D intake, wrt the balance of Ca/MK4 balance… Designs for Health has a Vit D prolduct with Vit D, K1/MK4, GG. Couldn’t you take that instead of Tri-K or is the suggestion, that you shouldn’t be taking additional D because of the increase risk of imbalance?

      What combo is most beneficial without risk of toxicity ( i.e. Vit E, D fat soluble vitamins)
      According to this discussion/research if on a statin, aging, etc. Need
      (1) Annatto E-GG (which has Vit E, GG)
      (2)Tri-K (which has K1/MK4, GG)
      (3) Vit D (most everyone deficient but can disrupt Ca/MK4 balance- product has Vit D, K1/MK4,GG)
      (4) CoQ10 (according to Dr. Tan to take for its other effects, not to counter SAMS- CoQnol has Ubiquinol, GG)

      Is there a safe range of GG to take? Because all the above products have GG
      Is it fat soluble or H20 soluble- does it accumulate or do you just pee out the excess? , etc.

      1. Both Vit D and Vit K2 [as in MK4] are legit, however the science of Osteocalcin is best indicated by MK4. This hormone is made exclusively in the bone to regulate calcium retention. GG makes MK4, and in turn, MK4 makes Osteocalcin.

        Up to 2000IU/d Vitamin D is fine.

        What combo is most beneficial without risk of toxicity ( i.e. Vit E, D fat soluble vitamins) (no supplemental alpha-tocopherol needed [dietary/food of ~10mg/d is good enough], supplemental Vit D of 2000IU/d is fine, Vit K1 [phyloquinone] of 2mg/d okay unless on blood thinner)

        (1) Annatto E-GG (which has Vit E, GG)

        (2)Tri-K (which has K1/MK4, GG)

        (3) Vit D (most everyone deficient but can disrupt Ca/MK4 balance- product has Vit D, K1/MK4,GG)

        (4) CoQ10 (according to Dr. Tan to take for its other effects, not to counter SAMS- CoQnol has Ubiquinol, GG)

        Is there a safe range of GG to take? (cumulatively up to 400mg/d GG is fine) Because all the above products have GG

        Is it fat soluble or H20 soluble- does it accumulate or do you just pee out the excess? , etc.

        GG is a small fat soluble molecule and absorbs well. Our own body destines this so that it can make all essentials (e.g., CoQ10, MK4) ubiquitously in all organs.

  5. Rob says:

    Just want to get clear after listening to this podcast period perfect timing, as I just also started taking a statin at 42yo.

    The annatto gg 300 was the recommendation right? And CoQ10 is must. Is there a good recommendation for brand of that or is the coqnol linked above that? Are you used to get CoQ10 From the glution supplement, I was taking the alms bio discontinued that.

    Any other recommendations welcome. I currently take vitamin d plus k from Thorne but have always used that.

    1. Bob says:

      The Cognol is Dr Tan’s CoQ10 plus GG, yes. I’ve always used Life Extension’s CoQ10 and will stick with it but will do more PubMed research on GG following this podcast.

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