Monday, September 20, 2010

Fertility, Diet, and Your Thoughts

Years ago, my fertility acupuncturist gave me a book to read and I finally read it!

The book is The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, PhD, and I found it absolutely fascinating. He explains, from a scientific perspective, how, basically, our thoughts (and beliefs) affect our physical bodies/ our biology, and the many implications of that. For those who are interested in the science behind the mind-body connection and want further evidence on how our thoughts and our environment can profoundly impact our health—and fertility—this is a highly readable, inspiring book.

The book jacket copy describes Dr. Lipton’s research as showing “that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.”

What I found most interesting was his discussion on placebos (showing the power of positive beliefs) and nocebos (power of negative thoughts). For placebos he refers to a 2002 article written by professor Irving Kirsch, who had to invoke the Freedom of Information Act in order to get information on the clinical trials of the top antidepressents, as this data was not forthcoming from the FDA. Lipton writes, “The data [in Kirsch’s article] show that in more than half of the clinical trials for the six leading antidepressants, the drugs did not outperform the placebo, sugar pills.”

For nocebos, Lipton remarks, “By their words and their demeanor, physicians can convey hope-deflating messages to their patients…. [An example] is the potential power of the statement, ‘You have six months to live.’ If you choose to believe your doctor’s message, you are not likely to have much more time on this Earth.”

Lipton offers plenty of examples and science to back up what he says. “Troublesome nocebo cases suggest that physicians, parents and teachers can remove hope by programming you to believe you are powerless.”

He says, further, “Your beliefs act like filters on a camera, changing how you see the world. And our biology adapts to those beliefs. When we truly recognize that our beliefs are that powerful, we hold the key to freedom. While we cannot change the codes of our genetic blueprints, we can change our minds.”

His book reinforces my belief that we have a lot more power than we even think we do to make a difference in our health – and in our fertility.

What he says about epigenetics is fascinating, and perhaps particularly interesting for those who are considering donor eggs. He writes, “In the last decade, 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.”

Epigentic mechanics have been found to be a factor in a variety of diseases. “In fact, only 5% of cancer and cardiovascular patients can attribute their disease to heredity,” he writes.

It’s just a fascinating read, and proves that we have a lot of power through the thoughts and beliefs we choose and the environmental factors we expose ourselves to, particularly nutritional factors. Practicing mind-body therapies such as meditation and visualizations can do a lot for our health and well-being.

photo: from