How Our Thoughts Control Our DNA

The common idea that DNA determines so much of who we are—not only our eye or hair color, for example, but also our addictions, disorders, or susceptibility to cancer—is a misconception.

You find yourself to be more or less a victim of your heredity. The problem with that belief system is that it extends to another level … You become irresponsible. [You say,] ‘I can’t do anything about it, so why try?’

This concept “says you are less powerful than your genes.

A person’s perception, not genetic programming, is what spurs all action in the body: It’s actually our beliefs that select our genes, that select our behavior.

The human body is comprised of 50 to 65 trillion cells. Cell functions independent of DNA and its perceptions of environmental stimuli affect DNA. This also applies the same principles to the human body as a whole, showing the power our perceptions, our beliefs, have over DNA.

The following is a simplistic summary of “The Biology of Belief”. For more details, you may visit

5-Step Explanation

1. The cell is like a human body and it functions without DNA

The cell is like a human body. It is capable of respiration, digestion, reproduction, and other life functions. The nucleus, which contains the genes, has traditionally been viewed as the control center—the brain of the cell.

Yet, when the nucleus is removed, the cell continues with all of its life functions and it can still recognize toxins and nutrients. It appears the nucleus—and the DNA it contains—does not control the cell.

Scientists assumed some 50 years ago that genes control biology. It just seemed so correct, we bought the story. We don’t have the right assumptions.

2. DNA is controlled by the environment

Proteins carry out the functions in cells and they are building blocks of life. It has long been thought that DNA controls or determines the actions of proteins.

Here I propose a different model. Environmental stimuli that come into contact with the cell membrane are perceived by receptor proteins in the membrane. This sets off a chain reaction of proteins passing on what could be described as messages to other proteins, motivating action in the cell.

DNA is coated in a protective sleeve of protein. The environmental signals act on that protein, causing it to open up and to select certain genes for use—genes specifically needed to react to the current environment.

Basically, DNA is not the beginning of the chain reaction. Instead, the cell membrane’s perception of the environment is the first step.

If there are no perceptions, the DNA is inactive.

Genes can’t turn themselves on or off … they can’t control themselves. If a cell is cut off from

any environmental stimuli, it doesn’t do anything. Life is due to how the cell responds to the environment.

3. Perception of the environment is not necessarily the reality of the environment

In a 1988 study done by John Cairns, published in the journal Nature titled “The Origin of Mutants,” he showed that mutations in DNA were not random, but happened in a predetermined way in response to environmental stresses.

In every one of your cells, you have genes whose function it is to rewrite and adapt genes as necessary. In a chart illustrating Cairns findings in the journal, environmental signals were shown to be separate from the organism’s perception of environmental signals.

A being’s perception of the environment acts as a filter between the reality of the environment and the biological reaction to it.

Perception rewrites genes!

4. Human beliefs, choosing to perceive a positive or negative environment

Just as a cell has receptor proteins to perceive the environment outside the cell membrane, humans have the five senses.

These are what help a person determine which genes need to be activated for a given situation.

The genes are like programs on a computer disk. These programs can be divided into two classes: the first relates to growth, or reproduction; the second relates to protection.

When a cell encounters nutrients, the growth genes are activated and used. When a cell encounters toxins, the protection genes are activated and used.

When a human being encounters love, the growth genes are activated. When a human being encounters fear, the protection genes are activated.

A person may perceive a negative environment where there is actually a supportive or positive environment. When this negative perception activates the protection genes, the body’s response is the programmed “fight or flight.”

5. ‘Fight or Flight’

Blood flow is directed away from the vital organs to the limbs, which are used for fighting and running. The immune system becomes of lesser importance. If you picture the responses we once needed for running from a lion, for example, the legs would have been infinitely more important in that immediate situation than the immune system. Thus, the body favors the legs and neglects the immune system.

So, when a person perceives a negative environment, the body tends to neglect the immune system and vital organs. Stress also makes us less intelligent, less clear-minded. The part of the brain related to reflexes is given more prominence in fight or flight mode than the part related to memory and other mental functions.

When a person perceives a loving environment, the body activates growth genes and nurtures the body.

For example, in Eastern European orphanages where children are given lots of nutrients, but little love these types of institutions have found to have stunted development in terms of height, learning, and other areas. There is also a high incidence of autism. Autism in this case is a symptom of protection genes being activated, like walls being put up.

Beliefs act as a filter between the real environment and your biology. Thus, people have the power to change their biology. It is important to keep a clear perception because otherwise you won’t develop the right things biologically for the real environment around you.

You are not victims of genes. What beliefs are you choosing for your genes to be expressed?

26 thoughts on “How Our Thoughts Control Our DNA

  1. Thank you Bruce! Thanks for all the amazingly important and empowering wisdom you share, and opening the minds of the skeptics with your dedicated research. You’re a gift to this planet!
    Enjoy blogging!

  2. On a very visceral level everything you have written feels to be so to me. For my age I am uncannily healthy and have not seen a physician in over 20 years. When I am ill, I research a mudra to perform, for whatever is bothering me and in short time I am back in balance. If I can do this and I now nothing of science, anyone can.

  3. This information changes everything, now…what to do with this! How do we restructure our lives to live this new reality in a world where most of the people have not heard or accept the new insights? How do we teach the children the new information while the older generations are “unlearning”?

  4. completely agree with the fact that its our thinking that determines who we are and what we get in life. The response to any situation represents our attitude and its the attitude that sails or sinks our ship of life. After reading this I was wondering if we could actually work on reversing certain physical (and mental) limitations that we have built in our life.

  5. This was for me an eyeopener of the first rate when I heard this the first time! I thank Bruce for his enthousiasm and his power he lays in all his speaches!
    Ad Nierop Holland

  6. I learn something new from you every time I read or listen to you. I pick up something new, or view from another perspective, or have another ah-ha moment. I just love your work and what you have to share. Thank you so much Bruce – you are such a treasure!

  7. …look at me digging biology! I sure am… I have the Biology of Belief on CD in my vehicle and I enjoy long trips with you Dr. Lipton! At first I thought… ok, I am going to listen to a biology lecture, sure… and to my great joy it is fascinating! And then, after listening to you for some years, it was my privilege to sit front row center for your keynote address in Vancouver last month at the I Can Do It Conference. I truly dig the science… I am thrilled to have been present. I enjoyed your presentation immensely! Kindest regards, Jacquie Klosch

  8. Thank you Bruce for fighting your own Demond’s of belief and going public! I’ve been following everything you lecture sence before your book on beliefs ! Lynn mctarget, to Gregg Braden, in how powerful our thoughts are !
    To guote my first teacher,, ” I am to day what ever I am because of what I was thinking today ” !
    Love and HUGGS

  9. I am so glad/grateful that you created this blog. I am a new learner to epi-genetics and really appreciate being able to have this to assist me in the transformation of my limiting beliefs.

    • Dear Bruce, Ok nice summary for those who don’t have the time to go to the original source but please DO NOT make such sweeping generalizations about EE orphanages today! It’s like saying “the schools in north & south americas are mediocre” ??? Don’t you realize that there is an abyss in such areas as medical care, education etc, in such different countries as Poland, Rumania,Hungary, Bulgaria ….

  10. Pingback: How Our Thoughts Control Our DNA « wwaterstone

  11. Pingback: How Our Thoughts Control Our DNA | kristallijnenpoort

    • Maybe this is the reason why people living in sunny environments appear to be happy and people living in dark and cold environments seem to be somber.

  12. Hello Dr. Lipton,

    I was one of the lucky people who had a chance to read your book, The Biology of Belief , translated to Hebrew. In Chapter 7 you used an expression that caught my attention, referring to the “battle between the conscious and subconscious”— the Great War that occurs in any individual with a dominant mind. Your description of this battle and the terms you used left me speechless … for, seven years ago I came across another script that described the same battle that you described so specifically in the seventh chapter of your book, and the amazing part is that the author of that text used the same professional terminology that you yourself used; it seems to me that one of the two authors “stole” the terms and concept of war from the other, but there is only one problem: the first author published his book more than three thousand years ago, while the second author never thoroughly read and studied that ancient script, of this I have no doubt.

    Please see the attached letter_

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