The lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels and organs that work together to move a colorless, watery fluid called lymph back into the circulatory system (the bloodstream).
Some 20 liters of plasma flow through the body’s arteries and smaller arteriole blood vessels and capillaries every day.
Parts of the Endocrine System
The lymphatic system consists of many parts. These include:
- Lymph: Lymph, also called lymphatic fluid, is a collection of the extra fluid that drains from cells and tissues (that is not reabsorbed into the capillaries) plus other substances. The other substances include proteins, minerals, fats, nutrients, damaged cells, cancer cells and foreign invaders (bacteria, viruses, etc). Lymph also transports infection-fighting white blood cells (lymphocytes).
- Lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are bean-shaped glands that monitor and cleanse the lymph as it filters through them. The nodes filter out the damaged cells and cancer cells. These lymph nodes also store ymphocytes and other immune system cells that attack and destroy bacteria and other harmful substances in the fluid. You have about 600 lymph nodes scattered throughout the body. Some exist as a single node; others are closely connected groups called chains. A few of the more familiar locations of lymph nodes are in the armpit, groin and neck. Lymph nodes are connected to others by the lymphatic vessels.
- Lymphatic vessels: Lymphatic vessels are the network of capillaries (microvessels) and a large network of tubes located throughout the body that transport lymph away from tissues. Lymphatic vessels collect and filter lymph (at the nodes) as it continues to move toward larger vessels called collecting ducts. These vessels operate very much like the veins do: They work under very low pressure, have a series of valves in them to keep the fluid moving in one direction.
- Collecting ducts: Lymphatic vessels empty the lymph into the right lymphatic duct and left lymphatic duct (also called the thoracic duct). These ducts connect to the subclavian vein, which returns lymph to the bloodstream. The subclavian vein runs below the collarbone. Returning lymph to the bloodstream helps to maintain normal blood volume and pressure. It also prevents the excess buildup of fluid around the tissues (called edema).
- Spleen: This largest lymphatic organ is located on the left side under the ribs and above the stomach. The spleen filters and stores blood and produces white blood cells that fight infection or disease.
- Thymus: This organ is located in the upper chest beneath the breast bone. It matures a specific type of white blood cell that fights off foreign organisms.
- Tonsils and adenoid: These lymphoid organs trap pathogens from the food you eat and the air you breathe. They are the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders.
- Bone marrow: This is the soft, spongy tissue in the center of certain bones, such as the hip bone and breastbone. White blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are made in the bone marrow.
- Peyer’s patches: These are small masses of lymphatic tissue in the mucous membrane that lines the small intestine. These lymphoid cells monitor and destroy bacteria in the intestines.
- Appendix: the appendix contains lymphoid tissue that can destroy bacteria before it breaches the intestine wall during absorption.
The lymphatic system has many functions. Its key functions include:
- Maintains fluid levels in the body: As just described, the lymphatic system collects excess fluid that drains from cells and tissue throughout the body and returns it to the bloodstream, which is then recirculated through the body.
- Absorbs fats from the digestive tract: Lymph includes fluids from the intestines that contain fats and proteins and transports it back to the bloodstream.
- Protects the body against foreign invaders: The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. It produces and releases lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells that monitor and then destroy the foreign invaders — such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi — that may enter the body.
- Transports and removes waste products and abnormal cells from the lymph.
Many conditions can affect the vessels, glands, and organs that make up the lymphatic system. Some happen during development before birth or during childhood. Others develop as a result of disease or injury. Some common and less common diseases and disorders of the lymphatic system include:
- Enlarged (swollen) lymph nodes.
- Swelling or accumulation of fluid.
- Cancers of the lymphatic system.
Detoxing The Lymphatic System
- Regular exercise is key for a healthy lymphatic system.
- A lymphatic drainage with Lymph-Biologics is one of the easiest ways to detoxify the lymphatic system.
- Hot and cold showers can help drain out the toxin from the lymphatic system. The hot water creates dilates the blood vessels while the cold water shrivels them, thus creating a pumping motion.
- Consumption of water can help washing the toxins from the lymphatic system.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes as it can cause blockages in the lymphatic system.
- Eating leafy green vegetables, low sugar fruits, flaxseeds, Chia seeds, avocados can garlic can help cleanse the lymphatic system.