Archive for the ‘lymphatic system’ Category

Lymphatic System Series (part 1 of 3)- Lymph.

When’s the last time you walked into the Doctor’s office and asked for a Lymphatic check-up or asked for a Lymph support formula at your local supplement retailer??  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, probably not very recently…what I really mean is, for 99% of people the answer is NEVER!!  The problem is, how can anyone really be expected to show concerned for, or lose sleep over something they know almost nothing about!?   I’ll be the first to admit, only as of recently have I truly been able to grasp the importance of this intricate system…The Lymphatic System is something you learn about briefly during the Circulatory and/or Immune System chapter’s in Anatomy and Physiology 101, and unless you’re a Pre-Med student that’s the last you really hear of it.  Even then I believe it’s importance is grossly ignored among Medical Professionals as a whole…why??  I’m going to let you in on a little secret…if Doctors truly “cured” their patients, they’d be out of a job before they could say, “scamming ain’t easy.”  Oh, and another thing, if we properly implemented nutrition and exercise programs to prevent health issues…we’d no long need massive amounts of medications from one of the most highly influential “groups” looming over our Country’s government…Pharmaceutical Companies (aka, Big Pharm…follow the money trail people)!  Okay, okay, I digress…my intention for this series on the Lymphatic System has absolutely nothing to do with neither myself nor a political soapbox!
The Lymph System is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that produce and transport lymph from tissues to the bloodstream.  The lymph system is a major component of the body’s immune system.  Because this system is rather complex, as well as it is truly unique and interesting, I’ve decided to make this a 3 part series as not to overwhelm (bore) you with information.  As I’ve said countless times before…The better and more complete of an understanding you have of the how’s and why’s in which we all function as humans, the more likely you all are to adhere to some of the ways in which it’s possible to optimize the benefits of lymphatic drainage(which I will certainly delve into) .

Part One: Lymph- (Latin; lympha “water goddess”)
Fact- The human body contains four times more lymph than it does blood!!…That statistic still blows my mind!  I purposely throw it out there to being with in order to stress the mere abundance of lymph…which in turn should spark your interest about a fluid that literally saturates your entire body.  If it doesn’t, I hear ignorance is bliss…continue!!  For those looking to maximize every aspect in which you can ensure a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life, let’s start from the beginning.
Lymph is a clear- to yellowish white fluid made up of white blood cells, especially lymphocytes, the cells that attack bacteria in the blood.  A portion of lymph is comprised of a fluid from the intestines called Chyle; chyle is a milky white fluid containing emulsified fat and other products of digestion, formed from chyle in the small intestines and conveyed by the lacteals and thoracic duct to the veins (Dictionary.com definition).  Lymph in the body is analogous to your cities sewage system…nobody pays much mind to it until stops working properly or gets clogged.
In order to best explain the formation of lymph, let’s backpedal for a moment…Blood supplies nutrients and important metabolites to the cells of a tissue and collects back the waste products they produce, which requires a change of respective constituents between the blood and tissue cells.  However, this exchange is not direct but instead is effected through an intermediary called interstitial fluid or tissue fluid that the blood forms.  Interstitial fluid (ISF) is the fluid that occupies the spaces between the cells and constitutes their immediate environment.  As the blood and the surrounding cells continually add and remove substances from the ISF, it’s composition continually changes (the process of  movement by which these fluids travel throughout the body will be discussed in depth in parts 2 & 3).  ISF forms at the arterial (coming from the heart) end of the capillaries because of the higher pressure of blood compared to veins, and most of it returns to its venous ends and venues; the rest (1%) enters the lymph capillaries as lymph.  Thus, lymph when formed is a watery clear liquid with the same composition as the ISF.  However, as it flows through the lymph nodes it comes in contact with blood, and tends to accumulate more cells (particularly, lymphocytes) and proteins.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump.  Lymph transport, therefore, is slow and sporadic.  As lymph circulates, it is pulled into the lymphatic system, an extensive network of vessels and capillaries which is linked to lymph nodes, small nodules which act as filters to trap unwanted substances in the lymph.  Lymph nodes also produce more white blood cells, refreshing the lymph before it’s pumped out of the lymphatic system and back into the body.  Lymph may not be as “showy” as blood, but it is related to an equally complex and ornate system of vessels…This is a good stopping point, by now I hope you have a better understanding about lymph, as well as, a brief introduction to the lymphatic system as a whole, and more importantly a preview or glimpse into part two of this series, where I’ll get into the circulation and re-circulation of lymph and the vessels that make it all possible.