The lymphatic system is one of the most important but often neglected systems operating in the body. Most of the problems in the human
body start due to the vitiation of lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is vital to our health and very life. Part of our immune system, it provides defense against disease-causing organisms. When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish our tissues
become congested, organ function is impaired and our health suffers.
A healthy lymphatic system will help reverse insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes), will help maintain optimum blood pressure levels, keep the heart healthy, keep the liver and kidney safe, help
good skin and hairs and keep away baldness and aging, keep arthritis away. It also keeps you safe from different types of tumors and cancer. It helps with the glandular system and maintain
hormonal balance in the body. It won’t allow virus, bacteria and other disease producing microorganisms to flourish and thus keep you healthy.
Here we will explain what this system is, how it works, and how to keep ourself healthy.
What is Lymphatic System?
Each and every cell of our body is surrounded by a fluid called interstitial fluid. At the cellular level, the lymphatic system is a
pathway through which fluid flows from the inter cellular spaces into the blood
An exchange of substances between the blood and the tissue cells
takes place by means of the interstitial fluid.
The interstitial fluid surrounding the cells drains into a small tube like structure (shown in green in the
The lymphatic system is made up of ducts, nodes, and organs that circulate a clear, watery fluid called 'lymph' throughout the body. The primary
purpose of this fluid is to filter or flush out waste products such as toxins and pathogens. Lymph also distributes immune cells, fats and proteins and importantly, produces immune system cells
called lymphocytes which protect our bodies from antigens such as viruses and bacteria. Lymph works with the circulatory system to drain fluid from cells and tissues and is the key factor in
maintaining a healthy fluid balance.
Its main components are located in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland and tonsils. Lymphatic tissue can also be found in the liver, heart, lungs, and skin. Lymphocytes are formed
in the bone marrow, while lymph nodes, small bean shaped filtering structures, are found in the armpit, back of the head, behind the ears, groin, neck, under the jaw, and chin. The lymph fluid
moves through the body via channels or 'vessels' that are fitted with one way valves, so lymph always moves in one direction.
The lymphatic system is very much similar to the drainage system of our city and in fact it is the drainage system of the human body.
Like a drainage system from each house collect into bigger drainage pipes, the fluid from small tubes drain into bigger collecting tubes or lymph capillaries.
Lymph capillaries turn into lymph vessels which pass through lymph nodes, empty into the lymphatic ducts and then into the venous system. The venous system carries the impure blood to the heart.
The pure blood is given in red and the impure venous blood in blue and the lymph in green.
The lymphatic system includes lymph, lymphocytes, lymph vessels, lymph nodules, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen and thymus gland. Part of the body’s
defense system, the lymph nodes filter lymph and the spleen filters blood, removing microorganisms and other foreign substances. The lymph nodes act as a filtration system that keeps
particulate matter such as bacteria from entering the bloodstream. They produce both lymphocytes and monocytes. Lymph tissue contains lymphocytes and other cells that can destroy microorganisms
and foreign substances. The cells have obtained oxygen and nutrients for its survival and also throw the waste products into this river of water. These waste products if not
removed becomes toxic for the cell.
Any stagnant water is unhealthy and so imagine cells surrounded by stagnant fluids around them. A city in a country can be clean only if surroundings of each house are kept clean. This means
there should be and efficient and regular means of garbage disposal system in operation.
Similarly a body can be clean and healthy only if the fluid surrounding each cell is kept clean by regular garbage disposal system. If cells dump waste every second but if the waste is not
cleared, your interstitial fluid will look like the pictures shown below.
The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in the tissues. It also helps in clearance of proteins and large particles which are too large to
be absorbed into the blood capillaries, but can be carried through the lymphatics. Removal of proteins from the intercellular spaces is so important, that if were not done, we would die within
about twenty-four hours.
Lymphatic fluid is derived from intercellular fluid that flows into the lymphatics. About two-thirds of lymph is normally derived from the liver and intestines. Small lymph capillaries originate
in the tissue and carry fluid away from the tissues. These lymph capillaries, which are in almost all tissues of the body, except the bones, superficial skin, deeper portion of peripheral nerves,
the central nervous system, endomysium of muscles. But even these are able to drain through minute pre-lymphatic channels, whose fluid then flows into the lymphatic vessels. The brain is unique
in that the pre-lymphatic channels drain into the cerebrospinal fluid and from there directly into the venous system.
If the lymphatic system becomes congested, blocked, damaged or severed, fluids can build up in the connective tissue leading to edema. After a time, cell pathology may begin. If there is damage
in the connective tissue due to burns, chronic inflammation, ulceration, or other factors, the lymph system transports damaged cells, inflammatory products and toxins away from the area. The more
quickly this can happen, the faster recovery will be.
The liver is very permeable to fluids and this flow freely into the liver’s lymphatic system. The liver is an expanding and contracting reservoir of blood, lymph and bile. If circulation is weak,
these fluids will have a tendency to congest the liver.
What can i do to keep my lymphatic system healthy?
Since there is no pump for the lymphatic system as the heart is the pump for the blood system, how does the lymph move? Several factors influence
lymph movement. The filling of a lymph vessel segment causes it to contract, which pumps the lymph into the next segment. This is known as intrinsic lymphatic pumping. Other factors that
influence lymph movement are all related to movement and activity:
1) contraction of surrounding muscles during activity
2) movement of the body
3) pressure changes in the thorax during respiration
4) compression of tissues by objects of the body
5) arterial pulsations
During periods of rest, lymph is sluggish. During exercise the lymphatic pump becomes very active. Exercise can increase lymph flow ten to thirty fold. Thus, regular exercise is the most
important factor in keeping a healthy lymph flow.