Hello and welcome to episode number 76 of Elmar´s Tooth Talk: The missing link to total health.
In today’s episode, we explore even further what we already discussed in episode 60. We discuss the importance of a healthy Lymph system.
So, What’s in it for you in this episode:
We talk about:
- WHY the Lymph System is so important
- How is the lymph formed?
- How the lymph system works
- HOW Lymph system and Immune system work together
- WHAT is a lymph node
- WHAT to do when lymph nodes swell
- HOW you can improve your lymph flow with some easy-to-follow methods
WHY lymph and lymphatic system are so important
Everyone knows about the importance of blood for our body, but only a few know that the lymph is also a vital bodily fluid that one could say works in secret. We only perceive the important functions of the lymphatic system when it is overwhelmed and cannot do its job properly.
When it can’t do its job properly it becomes clear because we experience swellings, and also inflammations and infections.
WHAT is the Lymph system’s duty?
The lymphatic system is responsible for cleaning the tissue, has an important transport function and it is also part of the immune system. It is part of our defence against pathogens.
Anatomy of the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system consists of the lymphatic fluid, branched lymphatic vessels, intermediate lymph nodes and the other lymphatic organs, which primarily serve the formation, activation and specialization of the immune cells:
Spleen: The spleen is the largest lymphatic organ and at the same time part of the bloodstream.
Thymus: The thymus sits above the heart, is part of the immune system and is particularly active in childhood and slowly recedes after puberty.
Lymphatic tissue of the airways: The mucous membranes of the airways have a lot of contact with the environment and are therefore the main entry point for pathogens. That is why a particularly large number of defence cells are stationed here.
In the throat area, there is a whole defence ring, the “lymphatic pharyngeal ring”, which also includes the tonsils.
Lymphatic tissue in the gut:
It is located in the mucous membranes of the entire digestive tract, especially in the small intestine. It serves to differentiate between “friend or foe” and to ward off pathogens.
How is the lymph formed?
The dissolved nutrients are transported with the blood. In the area of the finest blood vessels, called the capillaries, the blood plasma enters the tissue in order to nourish the organ cells.
This tissue fluid becomes lymph when it merges with the blind-ended initial lymphatics, which act like a drainage tube. Several litres of this clear, watery fluid collects in the lymphatic system every day.
What is the role of the lymphatic system?
The most important tasks of the lymphatic system are its cleaning, transport and defence functions. The cleansing function is closely related to the formation of the lymph.
The lymph absorbs both the liquid and the substances from the tissue that must be transported away. These substances are called the lymphatic load.
- Proteins: Only the lymph vessels are capable to absorb these large molecules from the tissue and feed them to the metabolism.
- Cells and cellular debris: In addition to lymph cells, the lymph also transports other white blood cells, pathogens, foreign bodies, or cells that have to be removed from the tissue – for example, dead blood cells from a bruise.
- Fats: These are not soluble in water and must be packed in transport vehicles. Whereby they become so large that they cannot be transported by the blood but have to be absorbed by the lymphatic vessels.
What is a lymph node?
Lymph nodes are 5-10 mm oval-shaped structures. Each of us has around 600 lymph nodes, which we normally neither see nor feel.
Normally, lymph nodes are comparatively easy to move, soft and elastic. If they are inflamed, they feel firmer and can be painful.
Where are the lymph nodes located?
Lymph nodes are found in many regions of the body. They are particularly concentrated in the armpits and groin, but there are also some in the neck, legs, back of the knees, abdomen and chest and even in the brain.
How is the lymphatic system powered?
While the heart is supposedly the engine of blood circulation, the lymphatic system is more of a one-way street: the lymph is formed from the fluid in the tissue and flows towards the heart, where it flows into the blood vessel system.
What drives the lymph on this path?
Like the veins in the bloodstream, the lymph vessels have valves. The section between 2 valves is called a lymphangion.
Each section has its own little signal transmitter: a small lymph heart. By contracting, the lymph is pumped from one region to the next with rhythmic movements. In addition, muscle activity drives the lymph flow.
What does the lymphatic system have to do with the immune system?
To ensure that only harmless substances enter the bloodstream, the entire lymph is constantly filtered.
The approximately 600 lymph nodes in the human body form the filter stations.
Defence cells are ready in the nodes to detect and eliminate any pathogens or foreign bodies.
These defence cells are called lymphocytes. They are capable of learning and can fight known pathogens to protect your health even quicker in the event of repeated attacks.
This means the lymph organs are the control centres of the immune system, the lymph cells are the defence cells and the lymphatic channels are the transport routes of the immune system.
The connection between the lymphatic system and the immune system becomes particularly clear when the neck lymph nodes are swollen. This is a sign of high activity of the lymphatic system.
What are the effects of disorders in the lymphatic system?
If the lymph flow is impaired this can have a variety of effects such as increased susceptibility to infection. This can be seen in the constantly swollen mucous membranes and lymph nodes.
Children are particularly affected – they often cough from infection to infection.
The lymph flow itself can also come to a standstill. This congestion is called lymphostasis where the accumulated fluid can no longer drain properly and swelling is the result. This can lead to lymphedema. Arms and legs are particularly affected.
Therapy methods that stimulate the lymphatic drainage and thus strengthen the lymphatic system are manual lymphatic drainage as discussed in episode 60 and compression therapy.
The location of the swollen lymph nodes
The location of the swollen lymph nodes gives the therapist an indication of the location of the disease: Tonsillitis often affects the lymph nodes in the neck, the same applies to respiratory diseases and mouth and tooth diseases.
However, if the site of the inflammation is in the legs or lower abdomen, the inguinal lymph nodes are particularly active and can swell.
The causes of swollen lymph nodes should always be clarified by a doctor. It becomes a concern if the nodules are larger than 2 cm, have been swollen for several weeks, or the swelling has hardened. Then you should urgently consult a doctor to get to the bottom of the causes.
How can You support Your lymphatic system?
Exercise is important to stimulate the lymph and strengthen the drainage. Bouncing gently on a trampoline and swimming are the best ways to stimulate natural lymphatic drainage.
Hot and cold showers, skin brushing, deep breathing and sauna also activate your lymph system. Homoeopathic remedies such as calendula, echinacea, taraxacum, dandelion or Lymphdiaral® and Lymphomyosot® can help
That’s it for today. Thank you for tuning in and see you next time at Elmar’s Tooth Talk – The missing link to total health.
Bye for now.