December 27th, 2021
Lymphatics - a plumbing system that follows the circulatory system throughout the body including the brain where it is called the glymphatics. The function of these passively moving tubes is to transport fats around the body, clear cellular debris returning it to the liver and spleen, move fluid in and out of tissue to maintain fluid balance, transport and help immune cells function. These are critical functions of metabolism, immunity and detoxification that when disrupted lead to chronic diseases of aging including edema, hypertension, autoimmunity and cardiovascular disease.
Lymphatics maintain routes throughout the body to transport antigenic proteins or fragments from tissues to immune cells. this process is critical for solvent adaptive immunity. If lymphatic function is impaired humans are predisposed to infection of the locally affected tissue. It also appears that lymphatics are involved in the development of tolerance to self tissue and the failure to suppress the immune response to these poorly cleared peripheral tissue antigens can result in autoimmune disease.
The key word related to lymphatics is edema which is a state where fluid is in the tissue space instead of the vasculature in response to inflammation and is a clear sign of dysfunction and disease . Edema develops when the smallest blood vessels like the capillaries and venules are filtering out more fluid than the lymph vessels can drain from the region. This is classic plumbing based entirely on pressure gradients to passive flow. Fluid homeostasis is dependent upon lymphatic vessel function in most tissues. By returning the waste material, extra fluid and immune cells to the bloodstream, lymphatic vessels complete the tissue circulation of fluid and protein and maintain tissue and plasma volume balance.
As with all plumbing issues, we must find out if the issue is a primary failure of lymph flow or is it too much fluid production in the local tissue overloading the removal gradient. This understanding can help guide the best therapy. Here is an image of the lymphatic system: Link
For example, kidney disease can lead to excess fluid retention because the kidneys are not removing it from the body as urine. The Excess fluid provides a pressure gradient leading to fluid leak into the tissue that rapidly overwhelms the lymphatic drainage system. Gravity sends the the vast majority of this fluid into the legs and lower half of the body. Over time the overloaded lymph also loses function compounding the problem. The biggest issue that arises from this dilemma is that this fluid is filled with inflammatory molecules, refuse and toxins. These molecules further inflame the local tissue creating a loop of fluid retention, inflammatory molecules causing inflammation, more fluid retention and on and on.
When the lymph functions well we have immune training and solvency which is critical to overall health. All of the protein fragments that are pushed into the lymph vessels eventually drain into a local lymph node. Here we think of our strep throat infection leading to a local set of swollen throat lymph nodes. These nodes have incredible capabilities. Do you remember the stories of people getting super swollen lymph nodes in the armpit of the COVID19 vaccinated arm? This was a sign that the spike protein fragments left the muscle injection site via a T or B cell through the lymph vessel migrating to the local lymph nodes of the armpit to exchange the genetic viral antigen information in preparation for memory B cell development. In the germinal center of these lymph nodes, the antigenic material (protein fragment of the virus) is exchanged and understood immunologically. One fate of this activity is critical. These B cells will go through divisions deeper in the germinal center of the lymph node (think of the rings on a tree moving closer to the center). With each division the B cell adds a mutation to the B cell receptor which mirrors the virus with minor alterations in the anticipation that the virus will mutate as well. This is how we stay ahead of the virus and it's mutations and is critical to covid death reductions from Omicron as we are seeing.
The flip side to this argument is very problematical. If the lymph system is inflamed and backed up it is likely then that fragments of inflamed self tissue antigens will be presented to the immune system in the same way which will lead to autoimmunity and disease. The dysregulated lymphatics lead to systemic inflammation that we see as all types of disease states especially local infections at the site of the fluid overload which is usually the legs because the fluid pools there because of gravity. The fluid overload leads to a warm wet immune dysregulated region that bacteria love to grow in - think of a hot tub without chemicals - green and gross. Thus, it behooves us to avoid triggers of lymphatic dysfunction, the most important of which is inflammation.
The to do:
1) Get regular massages to move the lymph fluid toward the heart
2) Wear stockings if you have lower extremity edema
3) Avoid foods that trigger inflammation especially dairy and gluten if you have sensitivites
4) Make sure to take your medicines for heart disease and high blood pressure to reduce pressure gradients
5) Use daily exercise and sauna therapy to enhance the removal of toxins through sweat
6) Avoid inhaling or ingesting chemicals that could build up if your lymph system is compromised
7) Make sure that you are defecating regularly to remove toxins through stool
8) Consider the supplement N Acetyl Cysteine to enhance glutathione production
9) Drink lots of water to flush the kidneys and clear toxins
Allow your body to properly eliminate and you will be effective at clearing unwanted toxins that inevitably find their way into your body and potentially damaging cellular function.
Get out and sweat, drink lots of water, have a bowel movement daily by eating lots of fiber, cough and spit and breathe your way to health.
Release the evil humours,