Who’s the Alpha Dog? The Cell Membrane or the Brain?



Who gets the last word?

In BodyTalk: Part 1, we looked at the internal conversation inside your body…an unimaginable number of messages flying from cell-to-cell, nerve-to-nerve, keeping all the systems humming and healthy. But what happens when they don’t agree? Who gets the final word?

The first job of the cells is…

All of those 50 trillion cells in your body, that I wrote about in BodyTalk: Part 1, are geared to reproduce and build new cells…their default setting is “growth.” That is “growth” vs. “protection.”

They are creating replacements for the billions that wear out every day. For example, the lining of your gastrointestinal system is totally new every 72 hours. All of this effort uses lots of energy, but the act of production actually produces energy as well. A sort of win-win.

And one role of the membrane…

As each cell “hangs out” in the ground substance, the membrane is monitoring the properties in the surrounding matrix, looking for what the cell needs and protecting it from any undesirable intruders. The hundreds of thousands of “antennae” (actually protein chains) that penetrate the membrane of each cell are responsible for this job. When the receptors at the outside end of the chain, sense a threat (toxin), the cell moves away. When they sense the right nutritional (growth) signal, the cell gravitates closer, opens the gate to connect, and takes in those properties it needs for the work going on inside.

Part of that job is checking the ID or “fingerprints” for the waiting signal (property) in order to exclude any unwanted or toxic substances from getting through to harm the cell. Each of the receptors on the outside only permits one certain property inside. Each cell has receptors for every required substance.

Those “fingerprints”

(A short side story, I find fascinating.) Medicines are designed to mimic the “fingerprint” of substances (which are naturally produced in the body), and thus gain access to their target cells. But that “fingerprint” lets them into other cells as well!

I won’t go into the complex explanation for this, but simply stated: non-targeted cells with different functions, than the ones intended by the designer of the drug, can receive that property through the matching fingerprint. In this alternate type of cell, that property can cause very different results.

Medicine delivered through the blood stream goes everywhere the blood goes, winding up in cells where it is not needed and producing unintended results. Perhaps not all bad, but not necessary and sometimes very dangerous. This is why you see that list of side effects in the information about any medicine (prescription and OTC).

So what about protection? Who handles that?

We have two different systems protecting us: the internal and the external.

The internal protection system is the immune system that handles threats from bacteria and viruses. This protection is triggered at the local level of the cell by the immediate environment containing the toxin (bacteria or virus). If you cut your finger, there is no need for a body wide alert and shut down to manage the local problem. The cells involved call for immune system special forces to attack the invaders and to fix the problem. If we ingested something, it could involve a larger area, but it is still localized to certain cells.

The external-protection-response is for threats from outside of the body, of the “fight or flight” variety, which are picked up by our senses. The tiger emerging from the jungle, rumblings of an earthquake, fire, and so forth that cause a body-wide shut down of certain processes and segments of the body to conserve energy for “fight or flight.” The sensory system sends a message to the hypothalamus, which alerts the pituitary, and in turn that triggers adrenaline to flow through the entire body to produce the necessary shut down to the cells which have receptors for adrenaline.

The result of this shut-down process–sending blood to the extremities for action one way or the other and halting digestion, absorption, excretion, and growth functions including energy production for reserves.

Growth functions? Yes, the brain, our alpha dog, has decided that it is more urgent to do something about the tiger first and worry about conquering the bacteria on our cut finger later when the tiger is dead or far behind. The same would apply to cells busy fighting an invading virus or major infection. All growth functions are on hold, which includes the immune system.

Other tigers that trigger this reaction

Paper tigers can produce the same result as real tigers. The mind cannot discern the reality of the stimulus. The boss is bringing his wife to my house tonight; I haven’t got anything to serve and the house is a mess, no time to go shopping, no way can I do carryout! And what about the kids? My stomach is in knots, my heart rate is up, dashing home to pull this off. My mind created this “threat” and my brain has interpreted this as a real tiger, putting the whole system into operation. There is no valve to control the level of response. Stress is a tiger, even if it is a paper tiger. Nagging worry keeps the adrenaline flowing as well.

Many, if not most of us, are in a perpetual alert state. Living in this condition is damaging.

  • Impaired immune system.
  • Less blood delivery to the brain.
  • Depleted energy reserves.
  • Dying cells not being replaced and more.

It is unsustainable. The system cannot maintain living like this.

How can we handle it?

Everywhere today, we see articles on the value of meditation. That’s a very good place to start.

But, I think body awareness, as a focus, is primary. Meditation may be your avenue to become aware. Mine is movement through Organic Stretching. Slowly tuning into the body…every little part…to see where I am holding unnecessary tension. Mindfully releasing each pocket of tension calms my mind as well as my body. A moving meditation with your own body. Delicious!

Most important…realize that this condition cannot be simply dismissed and expect to live a joy-filled life in a happy body.

I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts. If you are on the home page, please click on the title of this post for a page to leave your comments. Thank you!

Note: the content of this article is my interpretation of portions of Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles (Hay House/2008). If you find these ideas intriguing, there is a link on my book resources page to Dr. Lipton’s book and many more that have influenced my development of Organic Stretching®: bodymind movements.

Photo credit: FreeImages.com/AssassinM


Share this: