The Connection Between Health And Lymphatic System Function
Most people nowadays know what the lymphatic system (also known as the lymph sytem) is. But did you know just how critical lymphatic system function is, not only for fighting infection, but combating diseases like arthritis and even cancer?
The lymphatic system and healing are closely connected. It is a crucial element of the immune system, indispensible in shielding the body from disease and damage from inflammation. Lymphatic system function serves as the body’s internal “drainage system,” comprised of blood vessels and lymph nodes that cart vital fluids away from and to all areas of the body.
The primary lymphatic system function is to protect us from both external and internal threats like infection, bacteria, and cancer cells. But it is also crucial in keeping the body’s fluid levels in balance. Little wonder, then, that robust lymphatic system function is impacted by eating habits, the amount of exercise we get, and keeping the body detoxified.
A healthy lymphatic system and healing go hand-in-hand.
The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI), one of leading regenerative medicine clinics in the United States, reports that an unhealthy lymphatic system is commonly seen in their patients, particularly among those who are seeking therapy for autoimmune disorders. A healthy lymphatic system and healing go hand-in-hand.
Like a meticulously designed traffic system, lymphatic vessels conduct fluid throughout the body. It has a network of “valves” that prevent fluid from flowing the wrong way, not unlike the way the circulatory system conducts blood through arteries and veins. Lymphatic system function and that of the circulatory system have something else in common: they are essential for keeping us alive.
The vessels of the lymphatic vascular network are considerably smaller than those of the circulatory system that moves blood through the body. Through these delicate vessels flows the fluid called lymph. Lymph is stored in our white blood cells. It’s a clear, watery liquid that does more than cart away harmful bacteria. Lymphatic system function also serves to transport vital substances like protein molecules, salts, and glucose.
The lymphatic system includes several organs:
- The tonsils. These are the glands that sit toward the back of the throat. They sift out bacteria even before digestion begins.
- The adenoids. This is a gland that looks a bit like a cluster of grapes. It sits behind the nose and guards the entryway of the digestive system and lungs.
- The spleen and the thymus. These organs are essential for the filtration of blood and for producing infection-fighting white blood cells.
Lymphatic System Function And How It Works
At its core, lymphatic system serves to keep us free of disease. Twenty-four hours a day, our bodies are under endless assault by microbes, bacteria, and toxins. When lymphatic system function is healthy and robust, these microscopic armies become trapped in lymphatic fluid. The fluid transports the invaders to the lymph nodes. Here, the body’s immune system “counterattacks” by swarming the potential threats white blood cells.
But the lymph system has another critical role to play. When we become ill or injured, fluids can accumulate in the areas damaged by disease or injury. Throbbing and pain can be the result. So another important lymphatic system function is to keep the body’s fluids balanced and dispersed properly, preventing edema (fluid retention that can cause painful swelling) and water retention.
We have all experienced swollen lymph nodes. But why?
From childhood to adulthood, we have all had swollen lymph nodes associated with illness at one point or another. Most everyone has had the experience of their doctor feeling for swollen lymph nodes just beneath the jaw line. This is because these nodes often swell during colds and throat infections. But lymph nodes are found in several other prominent locations, as well: the groin, armpits, chest, and abdomen. Each of these areas is nearby a major artery. This positioning is crucial to basic lymphatic system function. It allows efficient connection to blood flow, all the better for keeping blood clean.
Immune cells are formed inside the lymph nodes. These cells fight infection and heal wounds. When lymph nodes sense invading organisms that are harmful, they up the production of infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes.
The spleen and thymus aid in blood filtration.
The lymph nodes aren’t the only stop that lymph fluid makes before it empties into the bloodstream. It must also go through the spleen and thymus. Redundant filtration is an essential part of lymphatic system function, and the spleen is yet another filtering organ in this meticulous and complex system. The spleen lies within the abdomen, just under the diaphragm. It traps and removes harmful microbes, balances bodily fluids, and gets rid of dead or damaged red blood cells.
The spleen also produces white blood cells known as macrophages, B lymphocytes, and T lymphocytes. Their production is triggered as blood passes through the spleen. When something harmful is detected as blood passes through, these specialized white blood cells surround and demolish bacteria. They also remove dead cells that linger in the blood, and get rid of foreign materials that have found their way into the body. Meanwhile the thymus -found under the ribcage- has a very similar task, adding to the vital network of redundant filtration and the creation or removal of white blood cells, according to need.
Conditions That Damage Lymphatic System Function
Symptoms and indications that lymphatic system function has been compromised include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Swelling in lymph nodes
- Muscle aches & pains
- Joint pain
- Sore throats
- Getting colds more often
- Frequent infections or viruses
- Fibromyalgic symptoms
- Even cancer formation
When lymphatic system function is robust, we’re protected from infection and illness because the lymph system “herds” microbes found within our tissues and carries them to the lymph nodes, where the invaders become “corralled.” There, the germs are kept from spreading and causing further trouble while the lymphocytes surround and kill the invaders.
The reason that lymph nodes swell is because of increased production of lymphocytes. This occurs when an infection, virus, or even cancer cells are detected. This is essentially why inflammation happens. In some cases, the lymph node itself becomes inflamed and tender. This is called glandular fever.
Other illnesses and conditions that directly impact lymphatic system function include:
- These are a category of cancer that originates within the lymph nodes. The lymphocytes suffer a transformation, multiply, and form a tumor. These lymphocytic tumors may spread to other areas of the body.
- Hodgkin’s disease. One of the lymphatic cancers.
- Fluid becomes trapped within tissues, causing swelling and often pain.
- Particularly common in minors, the tonsils can become infected and swollen. Frequently, the tonsils need to be removed.
- This is when lymph nodes swell in response to an infection. In some cases, several nodes at once may become swollen and painful.
- This infection attacks lymphatic vessels rather than the nodes. It is generally bacterial and originates in the throat.
- When a virus overwhelms the spleen, the infection can cause the spleen to swell. If a swollen spleen ruptures, it can become life threatening.
How The Lymphatic System Protects Us From Cancer Development
Healthy lymphatic system function is vital as a protection against cancer development. As with any living tissue, cancerous tumors shed cells. These freed cancer cells will become trapped within the nearest lymph nodes. As with many infections and diseases, swollen lymph nodes can be a warning sign that a cancerous tumor might be present. This is why, in conjunction with other tests for cancer, doctors will examine the nodes for any swelling or abnormalities. It can be a sign that a cancer has spread.
The lymphocytes that are produced by the immune system play a critical role in fighting disease, injury, and infection. Some of them secrete antibodies: germ-destroying proteins that prevent infections and mutated cells from spreading more widely through the body.
However, sometimes this process does not work rapidly enough to prevent free radical damage or halt the spread of cancer. In some cases the culprit is a malfunction of the lymph systems, allowing mutated cells to begin multiplying swiftly and begin spreading.
When cancer cells break away from a tumorous mass, they can spread to other regions in the body.
Cancer can begin inside lymph nodes. When it does, it’s called lymphoma. But it can also use the nodes as conduits, breaking away from a tumorous mass and spreading to other regions in the body. They can get into the bloodstream or flow through the lymph system until they reach other organs and begin to multiply in them.
In most cases, we aren’t even aware of this epic war being waged. When lymphatic system function is hail and hardy, free-flowing mutated and/or cancer cells are stopped before they can spread. But when the lymph system is overwhelmed, enough of the cancerous cells can make their escape into blood or lymphatic fluid vessels and take seed in other parts of the body. The spread of cancer is called metastasis. As with other diseases, the metastasis can cause the lymph nodes to become swollen and painful, sometimes so much so that you can feel the swelling with your fingertips when you pushing on the skin.
The “stage” of metastasis (whether the cancer has remained in the nodes or advanced) found in the lymph nodes determines how the cancer is treated. If it remains in the lymph nodes, surgeons may recommend the removal of the cancerous node. If the cancer has spread, other treatment may be required; such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Today, stem cell therapy is also being used in conjunction with more conventional treatments. According to the National Cancer Institute, this regenerative medicine method is being used to restore blood-forming stem cells in patients with certain types of cancer who have undergone very high doses of chemo- or radiation therapy.
One of the reasons there is such optimism for this technique is that it may help prevent radical removal of lymph nodes. One of the main dilemmas in removing lymph nodes is that the absence of the nodes affects the critical lymphatic system function of balancing fluids and removing waste products. This can cause swelling and pain, known as lymphedema.
6 Way To Maintain Robust Lymphatic System Function
The lymphatic system and healing go hand-in-hand. Ignoring the health of the lymph system compromises the body’s immunity. This leaves you vulnerable to an increase in common illnesses and can even cause long-term health issues.
Below are 6 methods for boosting your immunity and support robust lymphatic system function.
- Decrease Inflammation & Improve Blood Circulation
5 things in particular dramatically affect your immunity. They are:
- Eating healthy
- Getting adequate exercise
- Stopping the use of tobacco products
- Getting adequate amounts of quality sleep
- The reduction of life stresses
These are crucial in supporting a healthy circulatory system. They lower oxidative stress and boost the body’s natural abilities to detoxify and reduce inflammation. Circulatory system and lymphatic system functions depend on one another to keep your immunity strong.
- Adopt an Anti-Inflammation Eating Regimen
When your diet is nutrient-dense and less chemical-laden, lymphatic system function works much better. The lymph system doesn’t have to work so hard, hunting down and eliminating common allergens and other microscopic hangers-on that “hitch a ride” with poor-quality meats or dairy, the wrong types of vegetable oils, and processed food containing chemical toxins.
When you adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, the body receives an abundance of much-needed nutrients and antioxidants. Such a diet also lowers free radical damage (oxidation stress), which is a major culprit in pre-mature aging and lowering immunity.
Foods that are rich in antioxidants include:
- Green leafy veggies
- Vegetables that are cruciferous, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
- Berries of virtually every kind
- Foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as salmon and wild seafood
- Nuts and seeds of virtually every kind
- Unrefined oils, such as olive or coconut oils
- Herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, and garlic
- Adequate, Moderate Exercise
Do you ever feel this way: “I don’t understand why I feel achy and stiff. I’ve done nothing but sit at work all day!”
The less you move, the more prone you become to aches, pains, stiffness, and even illnesses and infections. Lymphatic system function needs body movement to be at its best. The more you move, the better. Getting the right amount of moderate exercise aids the circulation of fluids that keep nutrients and the right amount of hydration flowing to your cells.
You can be a high-activity exerciser if you like. But it has already been proven that just moderate activity done on a regular basis –even the simple act of brisk walking- help keep lymph fluid flowing and improves immunity.
That being stated, there are certain activities that are especially beneficial:
- This is excellent for improving circulation and lymphatic system function because its stretches and low-impact twists and bends aid in fluid drainage.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is exceptional in improving circulation.
- Using Massage and Foam Rolling
Using a foam roller or massage therapy are both very effective in the prevention of swelling, pain, and fluid build-up within tissue.
- Foam rolling. This is a version of self-massaging that is often practiced just before and after a workout. Foam rolling helps better blood circulation. It is designed to aid the body in repairing tissue and breaking up adhesions within tissue and muscles that often the root of muscular tightness and injuries. It has been linked to a better performance and quicker recovery after a workout.
- Lymphatic drainage massage. This is a massage therapy specialization that is designed to help cells discharge toxins and break up lymphatic congestion. It has been linked to improving pain intensity and pressure, and improving one’s pain threshold. Massage can trigger lymphatic system function and aid in flushing excess fluid from the body’s tissues.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a specialization practiced by some massage therapists. But a conventional, deep-tissue massage of any kind can be beneficial, as well. Even simple self-massage can go a long way in the reduction of pain due to swollen nodes, muscles, or joints.
- Far-infrared Sauna
Saunas are soothing and great for detoxing. Even better is far-infrared sauna. Both the traditional and far-infrared types produce benefits in relaxation, stress reduction, and the detoxifying effects of sweating. But far-infrared saunas increase sweat production by heating the body more slowly with lower temperatures. This results in a deeper body-penetrating heat and an increase in detoxing. More toxins are flushed from body tissues. Far-infrared sauna improves blood flow and tissue healing; both crucial for optimum lymphatic system function.
- “Supplement” the Lymph System
There are supplements that are particularly beneficial for improving blood circulation and lymphatic system function. Some are in the form of essential oils, which can be massaged into the skin or ingested. These include:
Other supplements come in capsule form, herbs, and/or can be found in “super foods” like fish rich in omega-3 fats. These include:
- Omega-3 in capsule form, fish, nuts, and vegetables
- Turmeric as a cooking spice or in capsule form
- Burdock root as a cooking spice or in capsule form
- Digestive enzymes, found in foods or in capsule form
- Activated charcoal in capsule form
- Milk thistle in the form of extracts, tinctures, pills, or capsules
The Lymphatic System Function & You
So many of the basics of health are in your control. A pro-active stance in one’s own health care can make or break the majority of the outcomes. This is every bit as true for healthy lymphatic system function as it is for any other health issue.
A healthy lymphatic system and healing go hand-in-hand. The lymph system is among the very foundations of robust and active immunity, protecting us from both external and internal threats like infection, bacteria, and even cancer cells. It is critical in keeping the body’s fluid levels in balance.
Understanding the correlation between the lymphatic system and healing is crucial.
As one of the United State’s leading regenerative medicine clinics, the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) sees unhealthy lymphatic system function regularly in their patients, particularly among those who are seeking therapy for autoimmune disorders. And, indeed, regenerative medicine is at the vanguard of revolutionary, advanced methods in autoimmune therapy and in understanding the correlation between the lymphatic system and healing.
While NSI certainly encourages patients to explore how regenerative medicine may benefit their health, the Institute also encourages patients to do their homework when choosing a regenerative medicine clinic. Commonly known as stem cell clinics to the general public, it is as important to ensure that the clinic practicing stem cell and platelet-rich plasma procedures is a legitimately licensed medical facility as it is when going to a traditional medical clinic. In the U.S., this generally also means that a legitimate stem cell clinic is FDA guidelines-compliant.
With that in mind, NSI offers tips below to help you ensure you’re working with an FDA guidelines-compliant regenerative medicine facility.
What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic
When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves and spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.
The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.
What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:
1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.
2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.
3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics
4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.
5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.
Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.
If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.
* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.