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Ben Greenfield Corner

Combat Muscle Loss & Enhance Testosterone: Dr. Barrie Tan’s Tips

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

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

  • Dr. Barrie Tan’s third time on the show — here to talk about statins and testosterone
  • Previous podcasts with Dr. Barrie Tan:
  • Dr. Barrie Tan discovered processes to extract tocotrienol — a form of vitamin E that has antioxidant properties — from plants like
  • Dr. Barrie Tan’s two books on tocotrienol:
  • American River Nutrition

-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

  • It is recommended to use CoQ10 with statins
  • CoQ10 — Coenzyme Q10 is a natural antioxidant found in cells, especially in mitochondria, essential for energy production and cell protection, with potential benefits for heart health, energy levels, and reducing oxidative stress
  • Cholesterol is needed in all the cell walls in every cell of the body
  • As you grow older, you make too much cholesterol
    • Too little CoQ10 and testosterone
  • Statins work to inhibit cholesterol
  • When people take statins, GG drops, then CoQ10 drops
    • CoQ10 drops when you take statin because the building block of CoQ10 is GG
  • Myopathy
  • SAMS – Statin-Associated Muscle Symptoms
    • The making of skeletal muscle protein requires GG 
  • Annatto GG (use code BEN15 to save 15%) to mitigate muscle symptoms associated with statins
  • CoQnol (use code BEN15 to save 15%)
    • A combination of ubiquinol — the reduced, active form of CoQ10 — and GG
  • When you take statins, you must take CoQ10
  • There is an ongoing clinical study in Texas: people on statin with myopathy given CoQnol 
    • One group was given a placebo
    • The second group was given 150mg
    • The third group was given 300mg
  • Statin was prescribed more often during COVID
  • Paper by Dr. Barrie Tan: Potential role of geranylgeraniol in managing statin-associated muscle symptoms: a COVID-19 related perspective
  • A study on COVID and statins:
  • CoQ10 does not prevent SAMS; does not reverse muscle symptoms 

-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…

Upcoming Events:

  • Boundless Family Retreat with Ben Greenfield — Crans-Montana, Switzerland: April 17–21, 2024

Immerse yourself and your loved ones in the unparalleled beauty and serenity of the Swiss mountains at an exclusive retreat hosted by me and my family. This transformative experience is designed to deepen family bonds, enhance health, and elevate wellness practices amidst breathtaking natural surroundings. You’ll get to dive into a meticulously curated program featuring scenic hikes through pristine landscapes, hands-on foraging adventures yielding nature’s freshest ingredients, and cooking classes that turn wholesome produce into nourishing meals — all at one of the top resorts on the planet: Six Senses in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Secure your spot to embark on an adventure where wellness and family joy converge here.

  • Health Optimization Summit — London: June 15–16, 2024

The Health Optimization Summit is the ultimate gathering for anyone passionate about biohacking, wellness, and living their best life. Dubbed a must-do event, it promises a transformative weekend filled with the opportunity to meet and learn from over 35 world-class speakers (including yours truly) in nutrition, longevity, mental health, relationships, and more. Learn best-kept secrets, try out the latest high-tech health gadgets, and discover the cleanest supplements and foods on the market. Don’t miss this life-changing weekend — grab your tickets before they’re gone here.

  • The Longevity Circle Retreat in Croatia — Superyacht Wellness Adventure: Sept 4–10, 2024

Step aboard the ultimate luxury wellness journey: the longevity-focused Superyacht Wellness Adventure, set against the breathtaking backdrop of Croatia from September 4–10, 2024. This exclusive, invite-only event offers an unparalleled experience that blends opulence with the pursuit of wellness, disease prevention, and a long, happy life. With only 10 cabins available, this intimate retreat promises personalized attention and an atmosphere of elite exclusivity. Each day, I will lead 5–6 invigorating workouts, share insights through 1–2 enlightening talks, and engage in organic discussions and Q&A sessions, ensuring a transformative experience. Secure your spot here on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and be part of a select group dedicated to elevating their health.

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

Resources from this episode:

Dr. Barrie Tan:

– Other Resources:

Episode Sponsors:

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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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