Dr. Barrie Tan: How GG-Gold Supports MUSCLE | Episode #140

In Episode 140 of the PricePlow Podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Barrie Tan, founder of American River Nutrition, for an in-depth discussion about the powerful nutrient geranylgeraniol (GG, sold as GG-Gold) and its wide-ranging health benefits – especially with respect to muscle.

Dr. Barrie Tan: GG-Gold (Geranylgeraniol) Supports MUSCLE!

Dr. Barrie Tan, founder of Amerian River Nutrition, joins The PricePlow Podcast #140 to explain how GG-Gold (Geranylgeraniol) Supports Muscle Tissue!

Dr. Tan, a renowned expert in the field of phytonutrients and the world’s authority on vitamin E, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, sharing insights from his extensive research on GG and other critical compounds. This episode offers listeners a sound understanding of GG’s role in human biochemistry, highlighting its importance as a building block for various biological processes and hormones.

The conversation begins with a brief introduction of Dr. Tan’s education and early research, followed by his career transition from academia to entrepreneurship — but he never stopped conducting and publishing research. It all began when he was studying the giant marigold flower (for eye health), which serendipitously led to the discovery of the annatto plant and its unique compounds, including tocotrienol, a lesser-known but potent form of vitamin E — and eventually, GG.

The critical functions of geranylgeraniol (GG) in the human body

Throughout the episode, Dr. Tan explores the critical functions of GG in the body, emphasizing its role in the synthesis of essential compounds such as CoQ10 and vitamin K2. He explains how GG supports muscle synthesis by aiding in the formation of skeletal muscle proteins and underscores the importance of maintaining adequate GG levels, especially as we age. The discussion also touches on the impact of statin drugs on GG production and the subsequent effects on muscle health and energy levels, highlighting the potential benefits of GG supplementation in mitigating these side effects.

As the conversation progresses, Dr. Tan explains the practical applications of GG supplementation, including its synergistic effects when combined with other nutrients like CoQ10 and Vitamin K2. He provides valuable insights into recommended dosages and the holistic benefits of using natural, endogenous nutrients to support overall health. The episode concludes with a surprising hot take on a certain mineral that he thinks we may get too much of.

Whether you’re a health enthusiast, an athlete, or simply curious about the latest advancements in nutritional science, this episode is full of valuable information and practical advice, and Dr. Tan is simply a fun speaker to listen to.

This one’s best watched on YouTube (below), as Dr. Tan shows a few examples, but you can also listen on iTunes, Spotify, or any RSS-enabled podcast app.

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Video: Watch Dr. Barrie Tan Discuss GG-Gold

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Show Notes with Dr. Barrie Tan – GG-Gold for Muscle!

  • 0:00 – Introduction and Dr. Barrie Tan’s Background

    • Mike welcomes listeners to Episode 140 of the PricePlow Podcast and introduces the guest, Dr. Barrie Tan, founder of American River Nutrition.
    • Dr. Barrie Tan: The Truth About Vitamin E

      Check out The Truth About Vitamin E on Amazon![1]

      Dr. Tan shares a brief overview of his background, including his education and early career:

      • Born and raised in Malaysia.
      • Studied in New Zealand, earning a Ph.D. in chemistry with an emphasis on biochemistry.
      • Conducted postdoctoral research at Auburn University in Alabama, focusing on cancer research.
      • Served as an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he later became involved in food science and nutrition.
    • Dr. Tan explains his transition from academia to entrepreneurship, motivated by a desire to discover phytonutrients that could improve health.
    • He discusses his initial research into the giant marigold flower for eye health, which led to the discovery of the annatto plant and its unique compounds.
    • Dr. Tan introduces his book, “The Truth About Vitamin E”,[1] and mentions his discovery of tocotrienol, a lesser-known form of vitamin E.
  • 5:00 – Discovering Geranylgeraniol (GG)

    • Dr. Tan discusses his discovery of geranylgeraniol (GG) while researching tocotrienol from the annatto plant.
    • He explains the significance of GG in both plant and human biochemistry.
    • GG-Gold / Genanylgeraniol: The Most Important Essential Nutrient You've Never Heard Of

      Geranylgeraniol (GG), sold as GG-Gold by Dr. Barrie Tan’s American River Nutrition, is an essential nutrient that’s used as a side-chain in Vitamin K2 and is critical for biological functions including CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) production, testosterone, muscle mass, bone health, gut health, and more!

      GG is highlighted as a critical building block in various biological processes, including the synthesis of important compounds in plants like chlorophyll and carotenoids, and in humans, such as red blood cell production, muscle synthesis, and the formation of CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) and vitamin K2.

    • Dr. Tan elaborates on the role of GG as an essential component in the biosynthesis of these crucial compounds, emphasizing its importance for overall health.
  • 10:00 – GG’s Role in Plants and Humans

    • Dr. Tan provides a detailed explanation of GG’s role in the synthesis of important compounds in plants, such as chlorophyll and carotenoids.
    • He emphasizes the crucial functions of GG in humans, including red blood cell production, muscle synthesis, and the formation of CoQ10 and vitamin K2.
    • GG is described as a building block necessary for various biochemical processes in both plants and animals.
    • Dr. Tan highlights the significance of GG in maintaining overall health and its potential benefits when supplemented.

    Geranylgeraniol Building Block

    Because Geranylgeraniol participates in the mevalonate pathway, it plays an important role in the entire biological world – it’s present and used in a molecular building block in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.[2]

  • 15:00 – How Geranylgeraniol Supports Muscle Protein Synthesis

    • Dr. Tan explains how GG supports muscle protein synthesis by aiding in the formation of skeletal muscle proteins.
    • He uses the analogy of GG acting as an accessory that helps stitch amino acids together to form proteins.
    • The discussion includes the importance of GG in muscle health and recovery, particularly as people age and GG levels decline.
    • Dr. Tan mentions that GG levels can be affected by statin drugs, which can inhibit GG production and impact muscle health.[3] GG significantly decreases statin-induced muscular weakness in animals.[4,5]
  • 20:00 – The Impact of Aging and Statins on GG Levels

    • The conversation focuses on how GG levels decline with age — and the impact of statin drugs on GG and CoQ10 levels.
    • Dr. Tan explains the mechanism of statins inhibiting GG production and the subsequent effects on muscle health and energy levels. This is known as statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS), which leads to numerous detrimental effects on the body.[6]
    • Geranylgeraniol Prevents Statin Muscle Loss

      Muscles from Geranylgeraniol-treated rats (GG), particularly the gastrocnemius, were able to generate more force than muscles from non-GG-treated animals.[4]

      As discussed in our main geranylgeraniol article, a meta-analysis showed that CoQ10 does not always prevent SAMS,[7] but GG does![2]

    • He discusses the importance of maintaining adequate GG levels for overall health, particularly for individuals on statin medications.
    • Dr. Tan highlights the potential benefits of GG supplementation in mitigating the side effects of statins, such as muscle pain and fatigue.
  • 25:00 – GG Supplementation and Its Benefits

    • Dr. Tan explores the benefits of GG supplementation, particularly for those on statin drugs or experiencing age-related decline in GG levels.
    • GG-Gold Logo

      American River Nutrition’s GG-Gold (Geranylgeraniol), is an essential nutrient for functions like CoQ10 production, testosterone, and more!

      He discusses the combination of GG with CoQ10 in products like ProQnol (formerly known as DuoQuinol) and its potential benefits for muscle health and exercise recovery.

    • The conversation includes practical advice on GG supplementation, recommended dosages, and the importance of maintaining adequate GG levels for overall health. The most sound research uses 300 milligrams of Geranylgeraniol.
    • Dr. Tan emphasizes the holistic benefits of GG as an endogenous nutrient that supports various physiological processes.
  • 30:00 – GG and Testosterone Production

    As a small-molecule building block,[2] this leads our conversation into testosterone.

    • Dr. Tan provides insights into how GG supplementation can support testosterone production — we’ve seen this in cells,[8] animals,[9] and men.[10]
    • He shares results from clinical studies showing a solid 20% increase in testosterone levels with GG supplementation.[10]
    • The discussion includes the holistic benefits of GG as an endogenous nutrient that supports overall health, beyond just boosting testosterone levels.
    • Dr. Tan highlights the importance of using natural, endogenous nutrients like GG for health and wellness, rather than relying solely on exogenous compounds. “Nobody has a tongkat ali deficiency!” Mike points out that this is an ingredient that can be used by anyone, whether or not they’re using exogenous hormones.
  • 35:00 – The Role of MK4 and Bone Health

    • Dr. Tan explains how GG is essential for the production of MK4, a form of vitamin K2,[11,12] and its role in promoting bone health and preventing vascular calcification. GG inhibits osteoclast formation.[13] Research also shows that statins, which deplete GG, also deplete the body’s endogenous K2 production![14]

      Geranylgeraniol & Menaquinone-4 Structures

      The chemical structure of Geranylgeraniol (GG), vs. that of MK-4 (vitamin K2).[15] As you can see, GG accounts for a large part of the MK-4 molecule.

    • He emphasizes the interconnectedness of muscle and bone health, highlighting the importance of both myogenic (muscle-building) and osteogenic (bone-building) processes.
    • The discussion includes how MK4 helps in calcium transport, ensuring proper calcium distribution in the body, and preventing calcification in soft tissues, arteries, and joints.
    • Dr. Tan provides practical advice on combining GG with MK4 supplementation for optimal bone and muscle health. Even though the GG molecule is used to make vitamin K, it’s still not a replacement — it’s best to use them together.
  • 40:00 – Practical Applications and Supplement Recommendations

    • Dr. Tan provides practical advice on GG supplementation, including potential combinations with MK4 and the importance of addressing calcium transport in the body.
    • Designs for Health Annatto-GG 300

      Designs for Health Annatto-GG 300 is for those who want a large, 300 milligram dose of Geranylgeraniol (from GG-Gold) all in one softgel!

      He discusses recommended dosages and the potential benefits of incorporating GG into daily health regimens.

    • Dr. Tan emphasizes the importance of using GG for maintaining muscle mass and bone health, especially in the context of aging and medication use.
    • The conversation includes suggestions for supplement formulations that combine GG with other beneficial nutrients for enhanced health benefits. This is something that supplement formulators need to consider more often.
  • 45:00 – Questions and Future Research

    • Dr. Tan answers questions about GG and ongoing research.
    • He discusses potential new findings and future studies related to GG and its applications in health and wellness.
    • The conversation touches on the importance of continued research to fully understand the scope of GG’s benefits and its potential in various health conditions.
    • Dr. Tan highlights some of the exciting future directions for GG research and potential new product developments.
  • 50:00 – Calcification and Too much Calcium?

    Mike points out that Dr. Tan’s discussed calcium in quite a negative light, due to calcification, which vitamin K2 and GG can combat against (side-note: calcification is known to be caused by excess Vitamin A and Vitamin D3,[16-23] something to be aware of if your joints/bones are hurting). The data is especially bad when combining D3 and Calcium.[24-28] So Mike asked, do we really need to go out of our way to get more calcium?

    The answer is actually surprising — Dr. Barrie believes that our calcium RDA is too high! This is definitely something to consider when putting a heart-healthy, joint-friendly diet together.

  • 55:00 – Closing Remarks and Contact Information

    • Dr. Tan provides final thoughts on the importance of GG and vitamin E.
    • Information on where to follow Dr. Tan and American River Nutrition for updates on new research and product releases.
    • Dr. Tan mentions his upcoming book on vitamin K and its significance.
    • They provide information on where listeners can find more content related to GG and vitamin E, as well as upcoming episodes.
    • Dr. Barrie Tan: GG-Gold (Geranylgeraniol) Supports MUSCLE!Mike mentions the link to the PricePlow Blog post on GG-Gold and encourages listeners to check it out for more detailed information and references. For instance, we didn’t really get into the gut microbiome studies,[29,30] which could have taken the conversation to a whole different area.
    • Final reminders for listeners to subscribe, leave reviews, and follow PricePlow on social media for the latest updates.
    • Mike and Ben thank Dr. Tan for his insights and encourage listeners to stay tuned for more updates and future episodes – contact links are below!

Where to Find Dr. Barrie and American River Nutrition

Thanks to Dr. Barrie for joining us and explaining some biochemistry in a way that all of us can understand.

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public. Mike is currently experimenting with a low Vitamin A diet.

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  2. Tan, Barrie, and Kok-Yong Chin. “Potential role of geranylgeraniol in managing statin-associated muscle symptoms: a COVID-19 related perspective.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 14 1246589. 17 Nov. 2023, doi:10.3389/fphys.2023.1246589. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10691100/
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