Have you ever heard of geranylgeraniol? It’s a compound that we produce endogenously, yet even the most seasoned healthcare practitioners haven’t heard of it – until now! I’m excited to tell you about the important roles this compound plays, and since the word geranylgeraniol is quite a mouthful, we can more easily refer to it as GG.
GG is required for:
- Protein synthesis & modification
- Cellular growth, differentiation, survival and apoptosis
- Synthesis of CoQ10, heme A, dolichol and prenylated proteins
- Conversion of vitamin K1 to K2
In most healthy individuals, our endogenous production of GG is adequate for the processes listed above. But as we age, and especially if we take statins for bisphosphenates, our production of GG declines dramatically.
Did you know that nearly 28% of Americans over the age of 40 are currently statins? And what is a chief side effect of statin use? Myopathy. Researchers have stated that GG is “the principal target of statin-dependent myotoxicity,” and statin-induced muscle damage “is the result of a geranylgeranylation defect”—potentially due to an inadequate pool of GG. (See references 16 and 17 in the attached list of references). Simply replenishing CoQ10 stores will not reverse myopathy, but supplementing with GG does offer the potential to support the reversal of myopathy because of its role in protein synthesis.
Similarly, bisphosphenates are multi-billion dollar drugs (used to treat osteopenia and osteoporosis) that interfere with the endogenous production of GG. A common result of nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (NBP) use is osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Effective treatments for this are lacking, and GG has been identified as a potential preventive and therapeutic agent.
Here’s a nice visual of the point at which statins and bisphosphonates interfere with GG production in a pathway known as the Isoprenoid Pool.
So where and how can one obtain GG if their own endogenous production is inadequate? GG can be found in flaxseed, sunflower oil, olive oil, tomatoes, and some herbs. Another rich source of GG is the annatto plant. Until now, GG did not exist in supplement form – but Designs for Health has just released a product called Annatto-GG, which is sourced from the beautiful annatto plant that grows in South America:
Offering 150 mg of GG per softgel as GG-Gold™ from American River Nutrition, this product may support the prevention and reversal of sarcopenia and cachexia, along with the endogenous synthesis of CoQ10, maintenance of healthy bone density, conversion of K1 to K2, pain reduction, skin health, and the synthesis of testosterone and progesterone. (I will write about these other functions of GG in future newsletters, so keep your eye out!)
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