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Cell Membrane: The Cell's 'Brain'?

Lightening in a globe

We have all become accustomed to the current orthodox belief that what we are is in large part determined by our genetics and that this was fixed at the moment of our conception and is a done deal.

In fact, so convinced are some women and their doctors and surgeons of this 'fact' that the doctors involved and the women concerned undergo radical prophylactic mastectomies in order to avoid what they regard as the inevitable fate of contracting the breast cancer that runs in their families.

This focus on genetics is, in fact, the end result of a long line of 'scientific rationalisations' of our universe. Francis Bacon believed that it was our duty to dominate and control nature and Isaac Newton viewed the world as a kind of machine, which could be taken apart, studied and repaired. Even the body has come to be seen as a bag of 'protein parts' to be harvested and utilised.

But what if the belief in the fundamental assumption that genes determine biology is just plain wrong?

Hard to believe, I know, what with worldwide genome mapping projects and the constant clamour for more stem cell research and the promise of genetically engineering out all our hereditary illnesses. Even the growing option to preserve umbilical tissue at birth for potential use later in the individual's life is informed by this underlying belief. 

However, the work of Dr Bruce Lipton and others, suggest that it IS wrong.

Not only that, but they go on to outline a more enlightened, interactive, dynamic and empowering paradigm of the way genes and the environment interact.


Dr Bruce Lipton

Dr Bruce Lipton, who is by training a cellular biologist, was doing early stem cell research when certain observations intrigued and troubled him. 

He wondered how it could be that cells could survive and regulate all their functions perfectly happily for extended periods of time without a nucleus - the presumed cell 'HQ'. In fact, these cells could do everything but reproduce! 

A bacterium too, which is the simplest organism, doesn’t even have a nucleus or any organelles (component cell parts). Which means that all its functions must be contained within its cell membrane.


Receptors and ligands

Cell membranes are a sandwich of protein and phospho-lipid layers. The outer layer of the cell membrane is studded with receptors or 'antennae-like' parts which receive specific 'ligands'. There are many different shapes and types of these receptors specific to substances such as glucose, histamine, insulin and even photons (light). These receptors are fantastically sensitive in that they can detect less than one part in a billion of their ligand in the environment. 

The interior of the cell carries a negative electrical charge and when a ligand docks with a receptor this acts like a switch that permits a positive electrical charge from outside the cell to enter through the cell membrane. This causes an electrical signal which, in turn, causes a vibrational signal to be broadcast within the cell that affects the proteins of the cell and regulates its functions.

So, the 'brains' of the cell are in the cell membrane - not the nucleus! 

Further, the molecules of the cell membrane are lined up like a kind of liquid crystal that changes from conductor to non-conductor. So that the membrane is a semi-conductor with gates and channels in which electrical currents can flow when the gates are open.

In fact, the cell functions very much like a computer. Envisage the cell membrane as functioning as the 'keyboard', the receptors as the individual keys and the cell nucleus as the 'hard drive' that contains the software. Having installed a programme, you can then remove the CD ROM and the computer will still work and you can select which software programme you wish to use at any given time.

This understanding has given rise to the emerging field of epigenetics whereby there is a dynamic exchange between the environment and the genetic code which turns some genes on and others off. Some genes too have been shown to control the expression and design of other genes.

So it seems that it is the cell membrane that performs the critical function of protecting the cell contents from the environment and dynamically up-regulates (produces more) or down-regulates (reduces) the numbers of any particular receptors. The membranes of the cell organelles all have receptors too that dock with ligands within the cell.


The mind and the cell

According to Dr Lipton, all living things and all cells can only be in one of two modes. The first of these modes is 'survival' whereby they are in a protective or bracing mode and the second is that they are reproducing. For any cell in the body, to remain for too long in the 'protective mode' eventually undermines the body's defenses as normal replacement and maintenance cannot take place and the adrenal system shuts off the immune system which can ultimately result in various diseases. 

Dr Lipton determined that all cells have antennae that are tuned into the signals broadcast by the mind and that fearful signals cause the cells to remain in their 'protective' mode indefinitely. Individual humans, he maintains all have unique frequencies associated with all their cell membrane receptors. Further, that many of the beliefs that we broadcast to our cells are unconscious and were acquired in a semi-hypnotic state before the age of 7 years of age.

This means that in order to get a different physical outcome, we must change the broadcast and this can be done either by becoming very mindful of our internal chatter, undergoing hypnotherapy (to access the same mind state as the programme) or by using one of the energy psychology techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique, body talk, Avatar, holographic re-patterning or Psyche-K.

This explains the mechanism by which beliefs manifest in the physical and also:

  • Why recipients of donor organs frequently experience personality changes as their 'new' organs are attuned to different frequencies!
  • The placebo effect whereby the belief in the efficacy of a sugar pill is broadcast to the cells which respond according to the individual's expectation.
  • How the immune system distinguishes 'friendly' cells from invading cells. 
  • How some individuals overcome seemingly hopeless disabilities using the power of their mind.
  • The phenomena of spontaneous remission (which is never spontaneous, but always associated with a big shift in attitude or resolution of a key issue). 


Taking issue with 'natural selection'

In 1988, John Kearns, a geneticist and biochemist published a seminal paper in which he took issue with Darwin's idea of random cellular mutation from which the environment then selects the best suited individuals. He found that bacteria placed in an inhospitable environment rapidly adapted to accommodate the change in their environment and he spoke about this dynamic interaction between cell and environment as 'epigenetics'. 

This new perspective on biology does not view the physical as just a mechanical device, but incorporates the key role of a mind and spirit in determining what occurs in the physical. This breakthrough in biology is fundamental in understanding all healing for it recognises that when we change our perception we can change our life.


Healthy cell membranes: Recommendations

This all suggests that it is crucial to provide the body with all it requires to maintain cell membrane health. The cell membranes incorporate fats obtained from the diet and the cells require DHA and EPA fats and definitely don't require the artificial trans-fats present in hydrogenated fat products such as margarine which are utilised and incorporated into the cell membrane disrupting function. 


Further resources

For more information about receptors and the new biology, you may want to read Dr Bruce Lipton's booksThe Biology of Belief available by clicking Amazon UK or US or Spontaneous Evolution available from Amazon UK or US.

To view the essential fatty acid supplements available through this site click to see the recommendations in the UK and in the US or to go to the Supplements hub to order. Recommended doses are given in The Natural Recovery Plan book

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Cell membrane: Article summary

This article examines recent advances in our understanding of the role of the cell membrane and receptors as being the intelligence of the cell, as opposed to the belief in the genome as determining all. It looks at the work of Dr Bruce Lipton, John Kearns and others and the new understanding of how the mind can influence the body to facilitate healing.


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The Natural Recovery Plan Ezine July 2010 Issue 7. Copyright Alison Adams 2010. All rights reserved
Dr Alison Adams Dentist, Naturopath, Author and Online Health Coach

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