The Biology of Belief

In my most recent adventure into the nutrition world I have been learning about the world of Biochemistry. I just recently read The Biology of Belief by  Bruce Lipton. I chose a quote from Dr. Lipton that is crucial for all of us to know, remember and believe.

“You can live a life of fear or live a life of love…It is not our genes but our beliefs that control our lives.”

Below comes from a handout I created based on Dr. Lipton’s book.

Doomed by Genes? 

  • “My mother had breast cancer at age 49. It is only 10 years until I too will have breast cancer”
  • “My brother just had a heart attack. I am next”
  • “My husband has diabetes and takes insulin shots daily. Our kids have no hope of a normal life”

Genetic determinism is the belief that genes “control” biology. It is a hypothesis, not a truth. We believe it is true because we have heard it over and over again when in fact it has NEVER been proven. The belief has actually been disproven many times.

Single gene disorders affect less than two percent of the population. In the realm of human diseases, defective genes acting alone only account for about 2% of our total disease load. (Strohman 2003) Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are not the result of a single gene but complex interactions among multiple genes AND environmental factors.

What is the truth?

Epigenetics is the study of changes in biology based on environmental factors. Also known as “control above genetics”.

Research confirms that DNA (gene) blueprints pass on hereditary information. Your blueprint may look just like your mother’s who had cancer. The good news is these blueprints are not set in stone. Just because you have the gene does not mean it will be turned “on”. Environmental influences such as stress, emotions and nutrition can modify your genes.

“Eminent scientist and physician Dean Ornish revealed that by just altering diet and lifestyle for 90 days, prostate cancer patients switched the activity of over 500 genes. Many of their gene changes inhibited biological processes critical in the formation of their tumors.”

Imagine an image on a television screen. The image has a “blueprint” but the dials on the television can fine-tune and alter this image by turning the television on or off, turning the volume up or down, changing the color hue, changing the contrast or changing the brightness.

The environment controls the “dials” on the genes in your body. There are over 2,000 variations the dials in your body can affect on your genetic blueprint.

Prove it – how is that possible?!!

US Department of Health and Human Services (2005) perceives that the nucleus is “basically the cell’s brain” because it contains the genetic material (genes), or DNA.  “DNA determines the cell’s identity, masterminds its activities and is the official cookbook for the body’s proteins.”

We are back where we started, with genes controlling destiny, BUT WAIT…

Experiments have been done to remove the nucleus of a cell.  Removing the DNA (genes) contained within the nucleus should automatically kill the cell, but that isn’t what happens. The cells without a nucleus still exhibit complex, coordinated, life-sustaining behaviors. DNA and genes do not control the cell.

Epigenetics has found DNA (genes) is simply a basic blueprint. Your body decides what its blueprint will ultimately create. Each of your genes is covered with protein sleeves like a sleeve covers your arm. If the protein sleeve is removed, the gene can be read. If it is not removed the gene stays silent. ENVIRONMENTAL SIGNALS cause the protein sleeve to be removed or to stay intact.  The better your environmental signals the more likely your healthy genes will be uncovered and your genes of disease will remain covered and silent.

Control is in your hands – Lower your stress level, calm your emotions, improve your nutrition and alter your gene activity and genetic destiny. 

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