During her life, Dr Candace Pert, PhD, a pioneering Neuroscientist completed ground-breaking work on defining the link between mind body and spirit. Dr Pert was most famous for discovering the opiate receptor while still a graduate student. Later, she became a pivotal spokesperson of the Bodymind and Wellness movements. She also spent much of the last three decades developing a new line of peptide-based drugs, including Peptide T, an anti-AIDS drug.
Her research demonstrates that internal chemicals—neuropeptides and their receptors—are the biological underpinnings of our awareness, manifesting as our emotions, beliefs, and expectations. These neuropeptides profoundly influence how we respond to and experience our world.
In the book the Molecules of Emotion, Dr Pert says that ‘on one level, emotions are not “feelings”; they are streams of biochemical properties that interact with the brain, producing feelings’.
Much of Dr Pert’s research involved receptor cells. Receptors are molecules made up of proteins that function as sensing molecules or scanners that hover in the membranes of cells. In order to operate, receptors need ligands, substances that bind to specific receptors on the surface of a cell. Ligands come in three chemical types. The first are neurotransmitters, small molecules of varying names such as histamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These transmit nerve impulses across a synapse or gap between nerve cells. Steroids are another form of ligands and include the sex hormones testosterone, progesterone, and oestrogen. Peptides are the third type, constituting most of the body’s ligands. Peptides are primarily an informational substance. Like receptors; they are made up of strings of amino acids. Neuropeptides are smaller peptides that are active with neural tissue, while polypeptides are typically larger.
Dr Pert found that our emotions are carried around the body by peptide ligands that change cells chemical properties by binding to the receptor sites located on the cells. Because they also carry an electrical charge, they modify the cells electrical frequency. According to Dr Pert, we continuously transmit and receive electrical signals in the form of vibrations, our experience of feelings is the “vibrational dance” that occur as peptides bind to their receptors; the brain interprets different vibrations as different feelings. Certain cells become “addicted” to certain ligands. If we have been angry a long time, cellular receptors learn to accept only the “anger vibrations” and reject those that might cause happiness.
For more on Dr Pert see the video below: