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The Biology of Belief

BRUCE LIPTON
2016 Edition

  • A cell's life is fundamentally controlled by the physical and energetic environment with only a small contribution by its genes.
  • Genes are simply molecular blueprints used in the construction of cells, tissues, and organs.
  • When our uniquely human minds get involved, we can choose to perceive the environment in different ways, unlike a single cell whose awareness is more reflexive.
  • Darwin said that individual traits are passed from parents to their children. He suggested that "hereditary factors" passed from parent to child control the characteristics of an individual's life.
  • At first DNA was thought to be responsible only for our physical characteristics, but then we started believing that our genes control our emotions and behaviors as well.
  • Genes are not "self-emergent." Something in the environment has to trigger gene activity.
  • Epigenetics is the study of the molecular mechanisms by which the environment controls gene activity.
  • The biochemical mechanisms employed by cellular organelle systems are essentially the same mechanisms employed by our human organ systems. There is not one "new" function in our bodies that is not already expressed in the single cell.
  • Each cell is an intelligent being that can survive on its own. They actively seek environments that support their survival while simultaneously avoiding toxic or hostile ones.
  • Activated cells employ an amazing mechanism called affinity maturation that enables the cell to perfectly "adjust" the final shape of its antibody protein. In this process, not only did the cell "learn" about the measles virus, it also created a "memory" that will be inherited and propagated by its daughter cells. This amazing feat of genetic engineering is profoundly important because it represents an inherent "intelligence" mechanism by which cells evolve.
  • The evolutionary advantage of living in a community soon led to organizations comprised of millions, billions, and even trillions of socially interactive single cells.
  • Over time the pattern of differentiation, that is, the distribution of the workload among the members of the community, became embedded in the genes of every cell in the community, significantly increasing the organism's efficiency and its ability to survive. Unfortunately, we conveniently "forgot" about the cooperation necessary for evolution when Charles Darwin emphasized a radically different theory about the emergence of life.
  • Lamarck's theory suggested that evolution was based on an "instructive," cooperative interaction among organisms and their environment that enables life forms to survive and evolve in a dynamic world.
  • Genes are shared not only among the individual members of a species but also among members of different species.
  • Genes are physical memories of an organism's learned experiences. The recently recognized exchange of genes among individuals disperses those memories, thereby influencing the survival of all organisms that make up the community of life.
  • British scientist Timothy Lenton provides evidence that evolution is more dependent on the interaction among species than it is on the interaction of individuals within a species. Evolution becomes a matter of the survival of the fittest groups rather than the survival of the fittest individuals.
  • Epigenetic research is corroborating over and over Lamarck's oft-ridiculed belief that organisms adapt to their environment and can pass on those adaptations to future generations.
  • Systems biology recognizes that biological insights emerge best from studying the dynamics of interacting systems rather than focusing on only one system.
  • Cooperation is "intrinsically unstable": there are cycles when defection prevails. However, the altruistic spirit always seems to rebuild itself.
  • Humans and most other organisms are now properly defined as superorganisms - complex organisms composed of many smaller organisms.
  • Human genes influence the genetics of the microbiome, and the microbiome's genes (that make up 99 percent of the unique genes in our body!) regulate genes in our cells.
  • The declining diversity of the human microbiome that is increasing our susceptibility to chronic conditions.
  • When the cultured cells are ailing, you look first to the cell's environment, not to the cell itself, for the cause.
  • The Darwinian underemphasis on the environment is that it led to an overemphasis on "nature" in the form of genetic determinism - the belief that genes "control" biology.
  • When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not an emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene.
  • Our cells are, in the main, an assembly of protein building blocks. They are protein machines.
  • Each protein is a linear string of linked amino acid molecules, comparable to a child's pop bead necklace. Most amino acids have positive or negative charges, which act like magnets. A protein's flexible backbone spontaneously folds into a preferred shape when its amino acid subunits rotate and flex their bonds to balance the forces generated by their positive and negative charges.
  • Cells harness the energy of protein movements to do the "work" that characterizes living systems, such as respiration, digestion, and muscle contraction. If the protein's positive and negative charges are altered, the protein backbone will dynamically twist and adjust itself to accommodate the new charges.
  • The distribution of electromagnetic charges within a protein can be selectively altered by a number of processes including the binding of other molecules or chemical groups such as hormones, the enzymatic removal or addition of charged atoms (ions) in the backbone's amino acids, or interference from electromagnetic fields such as those emanating from cell phones.
  • Cells exploit the movements of these protein assembly machines to empower specific metabolic and behavioral functions. The constant, shape-shifting movements of proteins—which can occur thousands of times in a single second—are the movements that propel life.
  • No longer is it possible to believe that genetic engineers can, with relative ease, fix all our biological dilemmas. There are simply not enough genes to account for the complexity of human life or of human disease.
  • Enucleated cells (cells with no Nucleus) still exhibit complex, coordinated, life-sustaining behaviors, which imply that the cell's "brain" is still intact and functioning.
  • Enucleated cells die, not because they have lost their brain but because they have lost their reproductive capabilities. Without the ability to reproduce their parts, enucleated cells cannot replace failed protein building blocks, nor replicate themselves.
  • Epigenetic research has established that DNA blueprints passed down through genes are not set in concrete at birth. Environmental influences, including nutrition, stress, and emotions, can modify those genes without changing their basic blueprint. And those modifications, epigeneticists have discovered, can be passed on to future generations. The malignancies in a significant number of cancer patients are derived from environmentally induced epigenetic alterations and not defective genes.
  • 80 percent of noncoding DNA is involved with regulating the production and assembly of gene-encoded proteins. Dark DNA contains mechanisms by which environmental information can be used to modify the readout of protein-encoding genes. It turns out that dark DNA uses epigenetic mechanisms that enable a human cell with 19,000 gene blueprints to code for over a hundred thousand different protein molecules.
  • In an analogous biology construction set, genes are the physical building parts, and noncoding DNA is the "instruction sheet" on how to assemble specific models (i.e., animals and plants) from an assortment of the same parts.
  • Telomeres prevent a loss of protein-encoding information during gene replication by providing a noncoding stretch of DNA whose loss will not affect the protein's blueprint. The length of the telomere extension determines how many times DNA can be copied before polymerase clipping cuts into the gene's protein code. Telomerase activity is the molecular equivalent of the "fountain of youth" because it replenishes telomeres that increase the vitality and reproducibility of stem cells.
  • Life experiences can stimulate or suppress telomerase activity. The primary influence controlling telomerase activity is the mind.
  • Membranes are characteristic of all intelligent life.
  • All the molecules in our universe can be divided into nonpolar and polar categories based on the type of chemical bonds that hold their atoms together. The bonds among polar molecules have positive and/or negative charges, hence their polarity.
  • Polar molecules include water and things that dissolve in water.
  • Nonpolar molecules include oil and substances that dissolve in oil; there are no positive or negative charges among their atoms.
  • Most of the cell's nutrients consist of charged polar molecules that would not be able to get past the formidable nonpolar lipid barrier.
  • Proteins allow nutrients, waste materials, as well as other forms of "information" to be transported across the membrane.
  • Integral Membrane Proteins (IMPs) can be subdivided into two functional classes: receptor proteins and effector proteins.
  • Receptors function as molecular "nano-antennas" tuned to respond to specific environmental signals. They have an inactive and an active shape and shift back and forth between those conformations as their electrical charges are altered.
  • Cells possess a uniquely "tuned" receptor protein for every environmental signal that needs to be read.
  • Receptor "antennas" can also read vibrational energy fields such as light, sound, and radio frequencies. The notion that only physical molecules can impact cell physiology is outmoded.
  • The receptor-effector proteins are a stimulus-response mechanism comparable to the reflex action.
  • The energy-producing activity of sodium-potassium ATPase turns the cell into a constantly recharging biological battery. Every revolution of sodium-potassium ATPase throws more positive charges out than it lets in to the cell.
  • The negative charge below the membrane is referred to as the membrane potential.
  • To exhibit "intelligent" behavior, cells need a functioning membrane with both receptor (awareness) and effector (action) proteins.
  • The more membrane surface area available, the larger the number of perception IMPs, and the end result is more awareness, which translates to greater survivability.
  • In order to get smarter, cells started banding together with other cells to form multicellular communities through which they could share their awareness.
  • It is the job of the membrane in a single cell to be aware of the environment and set in motion an appropriate response to that environment, in our bodies those functions have been taken over by a specialized group of cells we call the nervous system.
  • The cell is a "programmable chip" whose behavior and genetic activity are primarily controlled by environmental signals, not genes.
  • Cholesterol helps the membrane maintain a very important balancing act: it must be rigid enough to physically resist the strain placed on it by the cytoplasm it encloses, yet supple enough to accommodate the flexibility required for the movement of cells.
  • Membrane fluidity is also of great importance in controlling the cell's "brain" function because it impacts the membrane's ability to read and respond to environmental information.
  • Until recently, disease was perceived as a consequence of a breakdown in cells' biochemical mechanisms. The vast majority of disease is now recognized to be the result of lifestyle.
  • The Universe is one indivisible, dynamic whole in which energy and matter are so deeply entangled it is impossible to consider them as independent elements.
  • Cellular constituents are woven into a complex web of crosstalk, feedback, and feedforward communication loops.
  • To adjust the chemistry of this complicated interactive system requires a lot more understanding than just adjusting one of the information pathway's components with a drug. When a drug is introduced into the body to treat a malfunction in one protein, that drug inevitably interacts with at least one and possibly many other proteins.
  • Complicating the drug side-effect issue is also the fact that biological systems are redundant. The same signals or protein molecules may be simultaneously used in different organs and tissues where they provide for completely different behavioral functions.
  • Most biological dysfunctions (except injuries due to physical trauma) start at the level of a cell's molecules and ions.
  • Studies demonstrate that the manipulation of the quantum properties of matter can influence the course of biochemical reactions.
  • Scientific studies over the last fifty years have consistently revealed that "invisible forces" of the electromagnetic spectrum profoundly impact every facet of biological regulation. These energies include microwaves, radio frequencies, the visible light spectrum, extremely low frequencies, acoustic frequencies, and even a newly recognized form of force known as scalar energy.
  • Energetic signaling mechanisms such as electromagnetic frequencies are a hundred times more efficient in relaying environmental information than physical signals such as hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors, etc.
  • In physical molecules, the information that can be carried is directly linked to a molecule's available energy. However, the chemical coupling employed to transfer their information is accompanied by a massive loss of energy due to the heat generated in making and breaking chemical bonds.
  • The behavior of energy waves is important for biomedicine because vibrational frequencies can alter the physical and chemical properties of an atom as surely as physical signals like histamine and estrogen.
  • All organisms, including humans, communicate and read their environment by evaluating energy fields.
  • Thoughts, the mind's energy, directly influence how the physical brain controls the body's physiology. Thought "energy" can activate or inhibit the cell's function-producing proteins via the mechanics of constructive and destructive interference.
  • It is important for our health and well-being to shift our mind's energy toward positive, life-generating thoughts and eliminate ever-present, energy-draining, and debilitating negative thoughts.
  • The conscious mind runs the show, at best, only about 5 percent of the time. It turns out that the programs acquired by the subconscious mind shape 95 percent or more of our life experiences.
  • Since subconscious programs operate without the necessity of observation or control by the conscious mind, we are completely unaware that our subconscious minds are making our everyday decisions.
  • In a community of cells, each cell must relinquish control to the informed decisions of its awareness authority, the brain. The brain controls the behavior of the body's cells. The conscious mind not only "reads" the flow of the cellular coordinating signals that comprise the body's "mind"; it can also generate emotions, which are manifested through the controlled release of regulatory signals by the nervous system.
  • The conscious mind's capacity to override the subconscious mind's preprogrammed behaviors is the foundation of free will.
  • Programmed misperceptions in our subconscious mind are not "monitored" and will habitually engage us in inappropriate and limiting behaviors.
  • Some people get better when they believe (falsely) they are getting medicine. When patients get better by ingesting a sugar pill, medicine defines it as the placebo effect. Our perceptions, whether they are accurate or inaccurate, equally impact our behavior and our bodies.
  • When the mind, through positive suggestion, improves health, it is referred to as the placebo effect. Conversely, when the same mind is engaged in negative suggestions that can damage health the negative effects are referred to as the nocebo effect.
  • The mission of behavioral epigenetic scientists is nothing less than to figure out how nurture shapes nature. Here, nature refers to gene-controlled characteristics, and nurture refers to the influence of a wide range of life experiences, from social interactions to nutrition to a positive mental attitude.
  • Positive perceptions of the mind enhance health by engaging immune functions, while inhibition of immune activities by negative perceptions can precipitate dis-ease.
  • Research in psychology and neuroscience that demonstrates that a positive outlook enhances brain activity and leads to a more creative, motivated, and productive work experience. Belief modification can induce rapid changes in gene activity.
  • The primary source controlling our life experiences is the subconscious mind, and we need to focus on reprogramming it rather than just shifting our conscious mind's beliefs.
  • Growth and protection mechanisms are the fundamental behaviors required for an organism to survive.
  • The mechanisms that support growth and protection cannot operate optimally at the same time.
  • Redistributing energy reserves to fuel the protection response inevitably results in a curtailment of growth. Growth is a process that not only expends energy but is also required to produce energy. Consequently, a sustained protection response inhibits the creation of life-sustaining energy.
  • To fully thrive, we must not only eliminate the stressors but also actively seek joyful, loving, fulfilling lives that stimulate growth processes. The body's second protection system is the immune system, which protects us from threats originating under the skin, such as those caused by bacteria and viruses.
  • When the HPA axis mobilizes the body for fight-or-flight response, the adrenal hormones directly repress the action of the immune system to conserve energy reserves. In an emergency, the faster the information processing, the more likely the organism will survive. Constriction of forebrain blood vessels redirects vascular flow to the hindbrain. The increase in nutrition and energy enhances the hindbrain's life-sustaining reflexes to more effectively control fight-or-flight behavior.
  • While it is necessary that stress signals repress the slower processing conscious mind to augment survival, it comes at a cost... diminished conscious awareness and reduced intelligence.
  • Engaging in taxing exercise is one form of beneficial stress that enhances health and strengthens the body.
  • Our stress managing systems cannot distinguish whether a brain-directed response is derived from a real or an imagined fear)
  • In a healthy relationship, holding your partner's hand is enough to lower blood pressure, ease stress responses, improve health, and diminish physical pain! Parents have overwhelming influence on the mental and physical attributes of the children they raise."
  • Your conscious mind has a belief that is in conflict with a formerly learned "truth" stored in the subconscious mind, the intellectual conflict expresses itself as a weakening of the body's muscles.
  • During early development, the child's consciousness has not evolved enough to critically assess that those parental pronouncements were only verbal barbs and not necessarily true characterizations of "self." Once programmed into the subconscious mind, however, these verbal abuses become defined as "truths" that unconsciously shape the behavior and potential of the child through life.
  • The subconscious is an emotionless database of stored programs, whose function is strictly concerned with reading environmental signals and engaging in hardwired behavioral programs, no questions asked, no judgments made.

These notes were taken from Bruce Lipton's book The Biology of Belief.
See more at his website at www.brucelipton.com


© 2020 Cedric Joyce