The Lymphatic System: Your Body’s Great Recycling System

What exactly does our Lymphatic vessel system do? 

It is, for all purposes, a collection system. It collects particular matter, cellular metabolic wastes, foreign substances, pathogens, dust and dyes, water and excess or metabolized proteins. One of its major loads is dead cells. Virtually anything that could cause a problem if left within the tissue spaces is the responsibility of the lymphatic system to clear.

It is, therefore, a drainage system (hence the term Lymphatic Drainage) transporting waste matter from the tissues via the lymph vessels system. Its journey, similar to that of the venous system, is to travel toward the heart passing through numerous lymph nodes. A simple way to think of these is as regional stations where passengers alight. As the lymph load passes through the node, an identification and sorting process goes into play: What in the load can be purified, made over and re-used? What needs to be destroyed (phagocytosis) and what needs to be entrapped within the node to keep it out of the general circulation? In other words it filters and purifies. It also reduces the fluid content:(concentrates). What does that mean? Simply anything that can be reused by the body will be. Anything that is harmful and cannot be used by the body will be dealt with accordingly. For example, useable proteins are made over and will continue an onward journey, pathogens will be destroyed by phagocytosis, dust and dyes will be held captive in isolation so they cannot cause harm, and the immune system will be stimulated due to antigen presenting cells. 

The Lymph Node is a Biological Filter and we have between 600-800 of these Filters (nodes) present in our body. These nodes share characteristics with the kidneys, another filtering system,. in as much, as they are similar in shape (like a kidney bean ) but their size varies from a pin head to that of a kidney bean. Also, like the kidneys, the lymph node is a place where water is resorbed back into the bloodstream. ​

The Concentrated and Purified Lymph leaves the Lymph Node and will likely enter more lymph nodes before reaching its final destination of the terminus. The terminus is where it unites with the venous blood that will enter into the heart, carrying with it purified essential materials that stabilize our blood; proteins, lipids and water. As much as 2.4.liters of lymph enter the heart over a 24 hour period.

According to Guyton, if the lymph vessel system were not present in our body we would die within 24 hours. 

To summarize: It moves potential hazards (congestive materials) from our tissues which it may process and recycle, destroy or imprison. Left in our tissues this molecular matter could cause serious harm. Removing this matter from the tissues is key to maintaining a good exchange of nutrients between the blood and the tissue cells – ensuring a clear passage for the delivery of oxygen to each cell and preventing backup. Bathing our cells in pristine fluid provides optimal hydration and cell longevity.

My description, when teaching, is to liken our internal fluid to the ocean, rivers and streams: When stagnation occurs we see the build up of bacteria, water becomes viscous and scum forms on its surface, flies and mosquitoes buzz around. It is not suitable for drinking. It has become acid based and will not support life. 

Maintaining a healthy flow of our vital fluid, is essential to maintaining the pH balance of our life supporting fluids.  

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