[Transcript] – The Single 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.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/barrie-tan-gg-podcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:05] Who is Dr. Barrie Tan?

[00:03:36] What is GG?

[00:07:13] The difference between Tocotrienol and GG

[00:14:06] The difference between tocotrienol and vitamin E

[00:20:31] Which annatto to take?

[00:22:58] The link between CoQ10 and statins

[00:35:24] Ben's selling his complete bio-hacked home

[00:37:03] GG and testosterone

[00:40:39] MK-4 and GG

[00:47:22] Closing the Podcast

[00:48:34] End of Podcast

[00:49:35] Legal Disclaimer

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Barrie:  If you think of your hemoglobin, which is red color, without GG, there's no hemoglobin. Testosterone, menaquinone 4, not 7, menaquinone 4, CoQ10, everybody talks about, and skeletal muscle. You are a big muscle guy so you do exercise like that. The moment you do exercise, you stimulate your body to make GG because GG is required for the synthesis of skeletal muscle protein. So now, if I were to be a true biohacker, I'm going to listen in, “What the heck is this compound GG? I need to know more about it.”

Ben:  Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

Well, folks, I have a favorite guest back on the show today. His name is Barrie Tan. Barrie first joined me when we did a podcast about what he called “The single most powerful molecule if you're stranded on a desert island.” Later, we opened up the conversation to something called, I might butcher the name, geranylgeraniol, GG. Now, you might not have heard of that before, but if you didn't get a chance to hear my first two episodes with Dr. Barrie Tan, then you could, of course, go back and listen to those. I'm going to put a link to our other two episodes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/GGpodcast. But, don't worry, we'll lay down a foundation here as well for what that exactly is and why you ought to know about it.

Now, Barrie emailed me a few weeks ago. He sent me some very interesting information about two things: One about statins and one about testosterone. Interesting enough information to where I actually wanted to get Barrie back on the show for a three-repeat to talk a little bit more about GG and its role in these two fields. And, I'll also give him a chance to explain a little bit of a background of what this stuff is and where it comes from, because I take it every day. I have since the first podcast I did with Dr. Barrie for good reason as you're about to learn.

Now, he's actually credited with discovering a form of vitamin E called tocotrienol from three major sources: palm, rice, and then something very interesting called annatto. He's written two big books on tocotrienol since then. He's founded the International Tocotrienol Conference. He's even been dubbed the Tocotrienol King, how do you like that, by a highly respected and sought off cardiologist who've I also had in the show, Dr. Stephen Sinatra. And, Dr. Tan is just constantly at the cutting edge of some very interesting molecules and supplements, and we're going to get a chance to talk about all of these today.

So, Barrie, welcome back, man. This looks my chemistry lab in college and high school. You have molecules behind you that are recreations of this stuff.

Barrie:  Yes, I do. Thank you for inviting me. And, I'm looking forward to a very exciting time with your listener, particularly if your listeners among them are biohackers. I got some great news for you to come.

Ben:  I got a few of those who listen in, biohackers, my mom, and a few people who accidentally downloaded this podcast and didn't realize what they were getting into.

I would love to backpedal here just a little bit for people who may not have heard our first two episodes. Can you explain to me what GG is?

Barrie:  Yes. I discovered this–maybe some story here. I went to South America and I saw this lovely plant. It's called annatto. If I scratch it here–

Ben:  Beautiful.

Barrie:  Yeah, beautiful plant. And, the color is the coloring cheeses that you see, natural colors. So, a long time ago, about 25 years ago when I went to South America looking for this plant, and is a true, another one picture while I'm at it, this is an Amazonian tree frog like that. This frog is about the size of a dime and the seed is about a grapeseed. So, it's a true Amazonian tree frog where the plant is originally from.

Ben:  Oh, wow. And, by the way, I should tell people. Barrie's holding up a few pictures. But, if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/GGpodcast, if you're not listening to the video version here, I'll make sure I include that there.

Barrie:  Okay, thank you so much. And so, I discovered that this color is very unstable. There must be something that protect this color from turning brown or black color. I made many hypotheses and assumptions in my life. I'm not as smart as you thought, but this is one of those that turn out to be fantastic. Remember, I'm not a medicine man, I just happen to be in South America looking for something else, asking the right question. And, this question led me to the discovery of two compounds in this fruit of 50 to 60 million chemicals that the American Chemical Society said that I am. If that's not a crapshoot, I don't know what that is. But, I asked the right question. I asked, what is it that is preventing this from degradation? And, as it turn out, the first one that prevent the color from degradation is a compound called tocotrienol. It's a special vitamin E. And, with it, I wrote the book, “The Truth About Vitamin E” about 2 three years ago. And, right now, I'm following up to write a book, “The Truth about Vitamin K.” It had connection to GG which I'll elaborate. Right now, I'm just putting it all out there. Both of these two compound: annatto E, which is the tocotrienol and annatto G is from the same source from Amazonia.

And, for the audience, right now I'm putting the N out in front. This is not a dirty chemical. This is not a synthesized chemical. This is a pure chemical extracted from a plant and it just happened to be from the Amazonian basin. So, I'm really grateful of the 50, 60 million I stumble on these two. And, the first one, this is just a quick summary on the vitamin E, because I worked on it for 25 years, we did many studies on clinical research on a chronic condition such as diabetes, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, cancer, and especially on fatty liver disease. Now, I know I said a whole bunch of things like this, if you're ever interested, ask Ben or send me an email, I'll send to you all the published studies. It works to reduce inflammation like mad. And, this is the tocotrienol, annatto E. 

Ben:  Yeah. And, I want to get into that part, but just real quick, just so I understand because sometimes when I first interviewed you, I got a little confused about this so I want to make sure my listeners aren't confused. The plant that you were just showing a picture of, the little frog was inside that dark red color that apparently has these compounds that protect that color from degradation, that's the annatto plant, right?

Barrie:  That is the annatto plant.

Ben:  Okay, okay. And then, you've got GG as a compound that you find in this annatto plant and is the special form of vitamin E, the tocotrienol. Is that found as a part of the GG or is that totally separate from the GG and a secondary compound?

Barrie:  Fantastic question, Ben. It is a separate compound from the GG, the tocotrienol. However, the plant use GG to make tocotrienol. I have a molecule here. I'll show you. This is a molecule on vitamin E, like that. Now, I will purposely go out of the screen. See that? What is in the screen now? That is GG. So, the GG is used by the whole thing to make vitamin E. Human cannot make this. However, human makes GG, which I'm dying to talk to you about. 

So, this plant, when I was extracting this, I got this. There was always in the bottom of the pot. It is true, Ben. It is like this. I got my tocotrienol out. There's always 1 or 2% in the pot. I know it is not the tocotrienol, but I didn't have time. Doing clinical research is difficult. Sometime I envy you, fantastic podcaster, you interview one person after another so fast. I wish I can do research so fast, but research comes slow. But, I did the tocotrienol research. Eventually, I asked a question. I have the 1 or 2% in the bottom of the pot. I got to figure out what the done thing is. And then, when I analyze, he say, “Oh, this is a compound called geranylgeraniol.” We acronyzed it to GG.

Now, listen to this. Listen, I don't use the word biohacker so much, I use beautiful biochemistry. That's my DNA. But, I tell you why this is so beautiful. This GG compound is the last common step between plant and mammal. That means things that is green color to things that is red color is as big as, yeah. In the green color, I know human are not plant like that, but in the green color because you eat a lot of plant this and that, you're probably not thinking of this, Ben. And then, people green magma or whatever press this alfalfa of sprout and many other wonderful thing, next time when you eat your vegetable, if you see all those beautiful colors like carotene, carrot, tomato, like that, all those carotene, the plant will never be able to make it without GG. So, the plant use GG to make carotene. And then, also you eat your vegetable and it's green color like your back screen green color like that. Almost all plant are green color. Kale to vegetable, light, whatever color like that, all chlorophyll comes from GG. So, that means that GG is a survival intrinsic part of plant.

Now, the audience is more interested, “Well, Dr. Tan, I'm not a plant, but tell me what a plant does with GG.” I'll tell you. You're going to be sitting up straight if you hear this. If you think of your hemoglobin, which is red color, without GG, there is no hemoglobin. How about that? So, GG is used for hemoglobin. So, hemophiliac, GG is probably going to be useful to you, although it's not an iron. People can have anemia without iron. It's not that piece.

Another one, and I know you're going to ask me sooner or later afterward. Testosterone, menaquinone 4, not 7, menaquinone 4, CoQ10, everybody talks about, and skeletal muscle. You are a big muscle guy so you do exercise like that. The moment you do exercise, you stimulate your body to make GG because GG is required for the synthesis of skeletal muscle protein. So now, if I were to be a true biohacker, I'm going to listen in, “What the heck is this compound GG? I need to know more about it.” So, I explained to you in shorthand the critical things our body need GG for. And, by the way, even if you don't supplement GG, your body has to make GG to make all this. Otherwise, we cannot live as we are.

So now, I have many people asking me this. He said, “Barrie, are you kidding me?” He said that, “We have been in this industry for 30, 40 years and now you mumble this GG?” He said, “How come nobody talks about it before?” Then I said, “I think nobody talks about it before because GG simply was not available.” And, I wanted to say, hopefully not bragging but just with full of enthusiasm and passion, GG is the first in class. We are making it in United States for the first time. And, American River is the first company in Massachusetts making. I am thrilled to do this and so grateful that you are allowing me another time to do this podcast. So, I'm hoping to bear out everything I know now on GG.

Ben:  Yeah, American River is your company in which you actually produce some of these compounds, right?

Barrie:  Yes, we do it in Massachusetts.

Ben:  Okay. So, are you growing annatto? Is that how you're making it or did you figure out a different way to synthesize it?

Barrie:  No. I wish I can draw it here. Annatto can only grow in tropical places in certain parts of South America and on the Caribbean. Next time you go to Hawaii, go there to look. If you're in botanical garden on southern part of California, in southern part of Texas, or even in Tampa, Florida, you will see annatto plant. You can say the word annatto plant. You can say the word the lipstick plant. The British nickname it the lipstick plant. Or, you can use the scientific name, Bixa orellana. If you use any one of these, if they have it in warmer climate, botanical garden, you'll probably find one.

And, by the way, if any of your listener are in New York City, you cannot grow this in New York City. However, in the Bronx botanical garden, inside the solarium, they have all annatto plant. So, even if you're in New York City, you can ask somebody, where is the annatto plant? You can see it for yourself.

Ben:  The tocotrienol piece is interesting. I definitely want to get back into GG, but if I were to go over to Walgreens and buy vitamin E, is that not tocotrienol?

Barrie:  No, that is not. Thank you for asking that again. The common vitamin E that probably 90% of the people know is tocopherol. Those are the vitamin E that is out there for sale. The tocotrienol vitamin E, it says tocotrienol. And, there are two major sources, from palm and then from annatto.

I ask the audience to remember to get it from annatto and why. Because annatto tocotrienol is completely 100% tocotrienol free of tocopherol. So, if I say this, the audience is going say, “Well, you just make a nuance statement that is free from tocopherol.” Why? Because tocopherol interferes with the function of tocotrienol. And, in palm, it is about 25% tocopherol and they can't separate it. So, therefore, the tocopherol, even though you want the tocotrienol to function, the tocopherol put bricks on the tocotrienol. And, in annatto, there are no tocopherol, which is why almost all, if not all of our clinical trials with tocotrienol, they actually work. But, if you have tocopherol, then it will hinder the ability of the tocotrienol to work.

Now, the audience may ask me also, “Well, don't we need tocopherol?” You do not need to supplement tocopherol. If you eat a normal diet, you typically will get about 10 to 15 milligrams tocopherol. That is good enough. Yeah, but it's tocotrienol that you need. If you don't believe me, it's fine. You simply just Google tocotrienol research and then you're going to find a whole host of all this study on tocotrienol. 

Tocotrienol is very similar to tocopherol. See here. I give you another structure of tocotrienol. It look exactly the same except that you see there's a double bond here, double bond here, and then the double bond here, and hence, triene. That's it. The tail of that vitamin E is able to run around the cell wall and protect the cell. And, we have 40 trillion cells in the body that need protection. So, it is obvious. If you lead a very stressful lifestyle or people that follow you, Ben, that are very athletically fit, if you take the tocotrienol, it doesn't do any negative thing, it only protect your cell wall, so that when you oxygenate like meth, which you want oxygen to live, your oxygen is not going to–when one in a thousand or one in 10,000 oxygen you breathe in, is going to go whacko. And, those wacko oxygen is going to oxidize your lipid fat. That's when the tocotrienol will nail down the one in the 10,000 whacked-out oxygen. The 99,999 times oxygen is fine. It's supposed to give you the aerobic exercise oxygenation that you need. It's the one-off that you want to nail. that's it. If you do that for healthy lifestyle or if you're very stressed lifestyle and it's not healthy, you're definitely going to need it.

I have been taking tocotrienol probably the longest time, about 35 years before anybody else did. And, I'm no poster boy here, I just turned 70 about half a year ago.

Ben:  Yeah. Hey, you look pretty good. You look pretty good. I remember you and me went for a long walk together at the conference where I first met you and we were talking about tocotrienol and I was impressed at your vitality. So, something's working.

Now, one other question here might be my last question about vitamin E. But, a lot of times, all C supplements that brag that they're mixed, I think the way they phrase it is mix tocopherol and tocotrienol like this is a whole spectrum of vitamin E, all the different forms of vitamin E that you need. It sounds to me like you're saying that the main thing that you need would just be the tocotrienol component.

Barrie:  Yes. I think that one is a marketing narrative and the narrative goes like this. If you make one single compound, it sounds like the pharmaceutical thing is allopathic. If nature have it, it will make a whole set of same compound and then the whole set of same compound will be synergistic. That is the narrative.

I don't actually mind that narrative, Ben, is out there. However, if a very thoughtful sincere person were to say if there is synergism out there, you cannot reject the possibility of antagonism. A few times antagonism happened. And, in the case of tocopherol and tocotrienol, the tocopherol is antagonistic to the tocotrienol function. It is. I can send you so many studies. It's just out there. Trust me on it. 

And then, you said, “Well, Dr. Tan, you're saying something that sets a precedent, I never heard of this before.” No, you have. I'll tell you something. Lutein is good for the eye like that and everybody knows that lutein is good for the eye. And, lutein and beta-carotene are part of the family of keratin. If you take beta-carotene, which is known before lutein and zeaxanthin that's good for the eye, if you have beta-carotene, beta-carotene will interfere with the absorption of lutein. So, yes, it is true that synergism can happen in nature. But, when you know that they are antagonistic, why do you purposely shoot your own foot and purposely take them together when they're no good? 

So, for this reason, I encourage people to take tocotrienol because they're really hard to find in nature. They have but hard to find. So, if you find that it works on you to mitigate chronic condition, do not purposely take it with tocopherol. Tocopherol is not going to help it. In fact, your normal amount of 10 to 15 milligrams tocopherol that you get from food each day is just fine. That small amount would not interfere with the tocotrienol I'm talking about.

Ben:  Now, I got a lot of questions, and not to put the cart before the horse, and I definitely want to get back to this email that you sent me about statins and also the piece on testosterone. But, the last time I interviewed you, a bunch of people, I think they went to the Designs for Health website because that's one of the sources for annatto, and they were confused about which one to get because there were a few different kinds of annatto, I think, as far as the actual supplemental form was concerned. Is there something people should be looking for if they want to supplement with annatto or even the brand from Designs for Health, for example, that would be best?

Barrie:  Yeah. On the Design for Health brand, if it is a tocotrienol, they simply call it annatto E, a short for vitamin E. so, that's tocotrienol like this chronic condition, things that I talk about, Annatto E. If it is a GG, they simply call it Annatto GG. So, it's just like that. So, they have the word annatto in both. Annatto E is for the tocotrienol. Annatto GG, the GG is in there. They even have a product where these two are mixed. So, they'll call Annatto E GG.

Ben:  Why do they have the three different versions? That seems confusing if GG already has the vitamin E in it. Does that make sense?

Barrie:  No, when you take Annatto E, it doesn't have GG. If you take Annatto GG, it doesn't have E, or when we make them, we use a physical way to separate them. So, we separate the E and GG apart. Even though it's from the same source, we separate them because the functions of E and the GG are not necessarily similar.

Now that I talk to all about this chronic conditions thing on the E, you're going to ask me about the GG. The GG function is quite different from the tocotrienol, so people may not. So, anyway for the audience, if it is for chronic condition, please get Annatto E. If it is for GG, which you're going to ask me which I'm going to describe, and then it'll be Annatto GG. The Annatto GG has his own. And, I'll mention some specific add-on the GG would be good for to be added to.

Ben:  But, if you want the benefits of both, you could just take the E, you said it was called the Annatto E GG.

Barrie:  Correct.

Ben:  Okay.

Barrie:  If you want both of them, you say Annatto E GG, which is some people prefer it just that way.

Ben:  Okay. Alright, cool. Thank you. 

Alright. So, you emailed me out of the blue a couple of months ago now and I thought it was very interesting because I take statins for reasons I've discussed on the show before due to some plaque issues. And, one of the things that you're commonly recommended to do when you're taking statins is to take coenzyme Q10 to reduce the amount of statin-associated muscle soreness. And apparently, the idea of statin somehow strip the body of CoQ10, you replenish it when you're taking statins and it helps to mitigate the issues. And, I got a very different impression from the email that you sent to me. Can you explain the idea behind what you found on statins in CoQ10?

Barrie:  I think the best way for me to explain this statin thing is to use, pardon me for using this metaphor I hope it helps you understand, Interstate 95; is the most traffic highway in United States. One in three American leave on the eastern seaboard and they go from Maine all the way to Florida, Interstate 95. I use this because Interstate 95, let's say, is for the synthesis of cholesterol. Nothing in our body synthesizing is ever as high as cholesterol because cholesterol is needed in all the cell wall in every imaginable cell in the body. It is important with one bummer effect. As we grow older, we have arterial sclerosis. We just make too much cholesterol. Somehow, other things that we need like CoQ10 MK-4, it doesn't make enough. Testosterone, it doesn't make enough at all, but cholesterol, it OD and it is making it. So hence, the statin was invented. It was first launched in the U.S. in 1986 like that.

And, just follow me with this. Just start with Maine and things go down. It cannot go back up. You start in Maine. So, statin works to inhibit at Boston, and then cholesterol synthesis, which is in New York City, it get inhibited. Typically, people get inhibited 30 to 50%. Very dramatic. If they take statin, hits it in Boston, the traffic slow down seriously in New York City. Then, for the time being, you just skip Philadelphia. Just work with me, you're going to get it. You skip Philadelphia and then you get to Washington DC. And, in Washington DC, CoQ10 dropped. Yeah. Oh, my goodness, CoQ10 dropped and I think that because statin is in Boston, you lower cholesterol, and then in Washington DC, CoQ10 dropped.

Ben:  Yeah, that makes sense so far. By the way, my apologies to everybody who doesn't live in the U.S., just nod like you understand.

Barrie:  I'm so sorry. And then, further from there, then you get to Richmond, Virginia, then you notice that, “Oh, that is the part that you make muscle protein,” like that. And then, further down, you get to a Atlanta, Georgia, MK-4, menaquinone 4. And then, when you get to Miami, you get testosterone. Before you get to the Key West like that, the part that I purposely missed was Philadelphia. Philadelphia is when a very unassuming small molecule that the body makes, and that molecule is GG. Yes, geranylgeraniol that the body makes. So, if you hit it in Boston, cholesterol drop in New York City is obligatory that GG will drop in Philadelphia. So, therefore, because GG is in Philadelphia, is above Washington DC where CoQ10 dropped. So, I just explained to you the reason CoQ10 drop when people take statin is because GG dropped. And, GG is the building block for CoQ10. That's it.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, you heard for the first time you always know when you take statin drug, CoQ10 drop, but nobody ever explained to you why CoQ10 drop when you take statin. CoQ10 drop when you take statin because the building block of CoQ10 is GG.

Now, while we're at this, I'm going to purposely segue. I have this beautiful molecule behind me. And, in here in front of me, that is the GG molecule. And then, behind me is a CoQ10 molecule. You look at the backbone carbon, which is black color, hydrogen white color. If you look at the entire tail of CoQ10, it's about 2.5 length of CoQ10 is made by GG. The ring at the end here, that's made by the body, but the tail is made by GG. So, people don't tell you this. You see, biohackers, you got to pay attention. I'm telling you the beautiful biochemistry. This is unchangeable. This is the building block for this guy. So, if you zap this, CoQ10 cannot be made properly. That is the simple reason why CoQ10 drops.

Ben:  That's something that you alluded to but didn't distinctly say, so I'm going to ask you. You're saying that statins would also decimate GG.

Barrie:  Yes, decimate GG. And now, it's very interesting in our industry and you and I, if you take statin, you must take CoQ10 because your CoQ10 drop, agree. We got to take CoQ10. So, you bring back the CoQ10 level. We need CoQ10 for energy, for heart muscle, for all kinds of aerobic exercise need. Agree, like that. But, if you go to an allopathic doctor when you take statin, you notice that what the cardiologist said, he said, “Mr. Tan or Mr. Jon or Mrs. Jon, do you have any trunk muscle problem? Do you have any back pain like that?” The doctor is fishing for muscle problem. And, that condition sometime people call myopathy or you should Google, by the way, audience is the acronym for SAMS, S-A-M-S.

Ben:  Statin-associated muscle symptoms.

Barrie:  Thank you. You got it. So, if you Google that, the reason people have SAMS when they take statin is because the making of skeletal muscle protein require GG for the making. So, if you zap and decimate GG, the body is unable to make skeletal muscle protein. That's it. So, that is also an important thing. So, therefore, if you take GG, it will mitigate muscle symptoms with statin. So, we therefore have another product where we add the CoQ10, whether it's ubiquinone or ubiquinol plus GG. So, that will be classic.

Ben:  What's that one called? Where do you get that one?

Barrie:  Oh, that one? In Design for Health, that is called CoQnol. They play on the word NOL because it's ubiquinol, CoQnol.

Ben:  That also has GG in it or no?

Barrie:  They also have GG in it. The Design for Health, 100-milligram ubiquinol and about 60-milligram GG. They have another denomination, 200-milligram CoQnol and 120-milligram GG.

Ben:  So, if you were tuning in specifically because you're on a statin and you want to mitigate the issues, that would be the one to use if you're on a statin.

Barrie:  Yes. We now have a clinical study. So, I'm so passionate with this. We have a clinical study in Texas now, people on statin and they have myopathy under a cardiologist care. One group is dummy pill and they're walking like you do not seriously running, walking on a medicated treadmill to see if the muscle problem will be accentuated. Then another group take 150-milligram, and then the third group take 300-milligram. So, the study is blinded. I don't know the results yet. We will probably finish the study by end of this year. Then, we'll know the answer for the myopathy piece.

Ben:  Well, another reason why I think this is important. Did you know that statins actually began to be more prescribed during the COVID-19 pandemic for both long hauler and also for acute COVID as a potential way to manage some of the inflammation and other issues from COVID?

Barrie:  Yes, I did. And, I wrote a paper about this, and the paper, I even pay the editor, the journal rather so that people have free access. If you type my name, “Barrie Tan,” “GG and COVID,” you're going to find I documented clearly. And, it was a incredible thing. This is during COVID time. None of us can go anywhere. So, I started to read the literature and then the vaccine was not yet out, people were getting desperate. And then, this is when the study. So, you have tens of thousands of people go to hospital. Some of them will have very short hospital stay. They have COVID symptoms and then they're able to leave, no problem. Others would come in and then they get very sick, intubation, and some of them did not live beyond the 30 days in the hospital. So, they documented this. And then, initially, they have a very interesting finding, the finding, they were not pushing for statin. The finding was those on statin when they had COVID, they have less severity, less death, and shorter hospital stay.

So, that put a big question mark. And, the American Heart Association funded the study. Can you imagine this? The American Heart Association funded a study on COVID, which is pathogenic. It's kind of odd. That is not chronic. So, the study said that I wonder if we should do a study where people have COVID and come in. They are never statin takers. And then, they put them on statin and see if the statin would do something. So, that study is ongoing not published. And, when I was writing this paper and documented this, then Harvard actually produced a study. So, you should draw this study out. It was published end of November last year. You can access it by December. And, I clearly document that statin does mitigate COVID.

And then, related to the statin mitigating COVID, we found out that CoQ10 does not prevent SAMS, the muscle problem. However, if and when GG is ever used for COVID mitigation, then the number of people having SAMS would increase and GG would play a role to meet the unmet need.

Ben:  Well, if GG is the reason that the CoQ10 levels drop in the first place and CoQ10 doesn't reverse the statin-associated muscle symptoms, why even take CoQ10? Why not just take GG?

Barrie:  That is right. So, it is well known. CoQ10 does not reverse muscle symptom. Now, this is not to say if you take statin, if your CoQ10 drops so low, there is no reason to take CoQ10 for its own sake, which is not necessarily for muscle problem. But, if you have serious muscle problem when you take statin, just trust me on this. Without GG, the body cannot make proper muscle. If it cannot make proper muscle, that means you have to address the problem and the problem is GG. I mean, later on, you're going to ask me about GG with testosterone. There's something to this, Ben.

Ben:  This is interesting. For anyone who wants a done-for-you complete biohacked home, I am selling my entire tricked-out house located on 8.5 acres of forested land in Spokane, Washington. It includes a guest house, pool house, barn, whole setup for garden, goats, chickens, herbs, fire pit, along with a ton of biohacking goodies. The air, the light, the water, the electricity is all completely tricked out for optimized human biology. The highest quality air filtration systems, natural lighting friendly to circadian rhythms, low EMF, dirty electricity filters, EMF blocking equipment throughout, built to be off-grid when necessary with buried propane and solar grid, toxin-free and low VOC construction materials, the most advanced water filtration systems one can find, a massive vegetable garden, greenhouse, herb garden, outdoor fire pit, goat and chicken grazing pasture and barn all in a beautiful forest that's about 25 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from downtown. This can all be yours if you're looking for a place to get away in a safe natural area and you're looking for the best of the best biohacks done for you. Here's where you can go to check it out and to fill out a form with your interest, BiohackedSpokaneHome.com. That's BiohackedSpokaneHome.com. Check it out.

You're a mind reader because what I was just about to ask you was, is it because GG directly increases muscle protein synthesis or is it because GG somehow increases testosterone or is it both?

Barrie:  It is both. That have been confirmed because the mechanism for which it, I mean the star don't line up for us often. This one, the star line up. It really is, Ben. GG makes CoQ10 because the building block of CoQ10 come from GG. That is a GG piece, right? Which is good for muscle building, exercising like that, aerobic exercise. The testosterone piece as you know, we very well know testosterone maintain muscle mass. Even though I'm not a jock like you do, I know this. I appreciate this. You know who did the study on the GG and testosterone thing? It is not by American, it's by Japanese scientist. And, why did they do that? Because the oldest population in the world are Japanese. And, we are interested in this country not necessarily a bad thing to see if we have increased bedroom activity. I understand that. But, the Japanese scientist interest, we have 70, 80, 90, and 100-year-old people. These elderly people don't have thrive and they confirm whether men or women at that age, that testosterone dropped. They just don't have thrive and the muscle mass loss. So, they wanted to figure out how will they increase their muscle mass and they know testosterone can do that.

Then, they found out two nutrients. Only two nutrients so far, actually maybe more like fenugreek, like that, two major nutrients. The Japanese people like to find out what are the nutrient that are endogenous to your body. American, no. I'm sure you interview people. Fenugreek. Our body don't make fenugreek. It does increase testosterone, good. But, the Japanese scientist want to know what are the endogenous nutrient that I need to take to stay healthy with increased testosterone. They found two and I'm going to tell you the two. One is GG. They put GG. It increases the Leydig cell, the testicle cell to increase and women in the ovary cell to increase testosterone synthesis.

Ben:  So, it's acting on a gonadal basis.

Barrie:  Yeah, gonadal and women in the ovary. And then, MK-4 also do the same. MK-4 also increases testosterone. It was that made us do the study. We did the study one year ago. We gave healthy men and women 30 to 45 years old. And then, we give them GG to see if it would increase testosterone. We found that it did not increase–remember, women 30 to 45 years old, it did not increase a women's testosterone. Maybe good, maybe bad thing. Usually, it's good, I think, for women at that age. But, for men, in general, men, which have healthy testosterone probably didn't increase.

So, we did a subset study on people hypogondistic, which means 700 nanograms per liter like that on the low end like that. It would increase their testosterone by about 20%. We published a study. It came out two months ago, it works on that. So, right now on that same subset, we also submit in to analyze for CoQ10. And, the CoQ10 also increase by 20%. I'm really excited about this. This is just pure beautiful biochemistry.

Ben:  MK-4, because I've obviously been looking into this with my own plaque issues and wanting to halt or slow or even reverse the process of atherosclerosis. MK4 is actually something that's pretty important for heart health and specifically for plaque. So, it seems to fit pretty well into this equation. And, remind me, I've already forgotten, didn't you say that GG allows the body to produce MK-4 or even contains MK-4 somehow?

Barrie:  Yes. And, allow me. Your audience, in this case, should look at the video. I did this on purpose. MK4 is partly from the human body and partly from the plant. This is vitamin K1. If you eat any green leafy vegetable, this is vitamin K1, the one that clot the clotting factor. It has a ring here on the cap and then a tail here. The tail here is phytol, is from the plant like that. If you take this, a fixed amount will go in, it will seal the tear in your body. If you have a cut, the vitamin K would come. This is the clotting factor. A Nobel Prize was given to this.

One time I was asking the question. I have many vegan friends. I'm not vegan, I have many vegan friends, right? If they only eat vegetable, rabbits, and cow, they should literally clot to death. My healthy vegan do not clot to death even though they have huge amount of vitamin K1. And, this is what happened. When this goes to the gut, a fixed amount of this vitamin K1 go to our body don't make. But, at the gut, we have enzyme to cut this thing off like this. And then, the tail, phytol tail get washed away, is 20 carbon. And, this ring here goes inside the body and exactly the same tail, the red color. I purposely did that because it's from human, the GG. And then, the GG is known in 30 different organs. We'll see the hat and stitch on. Intentionally I make the click sound and that's MK-4.

Ben:  Oh, really the GG combines with the degradation products of MK-1 to generate MK-4 endogenously?

Barrie:  That is correct. Which is why I'm so gung-ho about this. But Ben, your biohacker should be listening to this. This is real. This is actually the biochemistry. It is not monkey business. This stimulate that brain gut axis, all these other thing that people talk about. This is just biochemistry. If you look at the molecule of MK-4, the ring here comes from the plant K1 and the tail here is GG. So, as we age, we don't make enough GG, then it's very difficult to make MK-4. And then, if you take a statin drug, it inhibits GG. So, the body is going to struggle to make MK-4 and MK-4, you say correctly. I will tell you a simplistic way to say MK-4 and it's not like I'm telling Ben. You are the podcaster. I'm not a podcaster. You know how to describe it.

In our body, 5% of calcium is in soft tissue. 95% of calcium is in the bone. That's a very precarious balance. If you have 6% calcium in soft tissue and 94% in the bone, that's already a problem. And, that's hard to keep, 6-94%. I'll tell you three things I know, probably more. Kidney stone, gallstone, calcified artery, that is a 6%. So, what keeps this 95-5 balance? MK-4. So, if you look at MK-4, you'll keep that balance.

Ben:  And, by the way, that's even why people highly recommend you take vitamin K or MK-4 especially if you're taking vitamin D because the potential for vitamin D to pull even more calcium into the arteries, right?

Barrie:  That is true. So, please consider. I'm looking at studies now for long-term statin taker, do they begin to have calcification of the artery? If they do, that means that over long time of taking statin, they slowly and progressively decimate MK-4 like that. So, one way I'm going to help myself is I'm going to take GG. I have severe hypercalcemia, it's nothing to do with me, I'm a small-built person and you saw me before. But, I have got this gene in my liver that OD on producing cholesterol so I have to take statin.

Ben:  Okay. And, do you also take a PCSK9?

Barrie:  No, I'm not taking that yet because I decided that I don't want to take injection yet. So, I am not taking PKS9 yet. So, so far, it seems like I'm managing okay. I do not have muscle problem as is in check. If I take PKSC9, then it'll probably drop even more dramatically. So, I'm not quite there yet.

Ben:  Would you say even though GG can allow for upregulation of availability of CoQ10 and MK-4 that if you were on a statin, it would be prudent to take annatto along with CoQ10 or ubiquinol along with MK-4, all three?

Barrie:  Yes. And, if people want to simplify and take all in one, you can take Design for Health CoQnol.

Ben:  Oh, CoQnol has the MK-4 in it as well?

Barrie:  No, no MK-4, it had the GG in it.

Ben:  Okay.

Barrie:  And GG in it. Their product, they have a special vitamin K product, they call it TRI-K, T-R-I-K. And, the TRI-K had GG, has a phylloquinone, which is K1, and then MK-4.

Ben:  Yeah, that's fantastic. Because right now, I'm actually using TRI-K and GG in the morning and then taking my statin in the evening. So, this is very good information. Yeah.

Barrie:  That way you're taking it is going to make your bone strong ad nauseam like that. So, you can have your bone. Well, you're young, you're not expected to have bone loss. I'm particularly trying to encourage women, particularly when they get to postmenopausal age to take the TRI-K because their body estrogen drop, and then the bone is not able to retain the calcium and then the vitamin K would help in that calcium piece.

Ben:  Oh, good. I'm going to tell my wife this after the podcast.

Man, Barrie, you are wealth of knowledge as always. For people listening in, I'll link to the video, I'll link to a lot of the different products that we talked about, our two previous shows which would go fantastically along with this show. You don't have to listen to them, but if you want another deep dive into GG, annatto, vitamin E, tocotrienols versus tocopherols, et cetera, go listen to my other episodes with Barrie. They're just as educational and intriguing. And, this one, if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/GGpodcast, that's BenGreenfieldLife.com/GGpodcast, all of the shownotes, the research, et cetera there. So, Barrie, thanks so much, man. You're fantastic as usual. I love talking to you.

Barrie:  Thank you so much. And also, I will have Jen sent to you two interviews of Dr. David Brady, he's a chief medical officer of Design for Health, and of me. They came out in the IMCJ magazine in January. And then, that explained a little bit more. It is a question-and-answer thing. I'll send to you, then you can help to link in for your audience. It was just a published paper. Have a wonderful week, my friend.

Ben:  See you later, man.

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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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Resources from this episode:

Dr. Barrie Tan:

– Other Resources:

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