The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is often referred to as the ‘body’s line of defence’. It plays a vital role in supporting our immune system and regulating interstitial fluids.

The lymphatic system works as a secondary and independent transport system to deliver cells and nutrients to the body absorbing fat and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and transporting them to the veins. It defends against invading organisms, removes and destroys waste, cellular debris, pathogens and toxins and restores excess interstitial fluids and proteins to the blood.

Lymph fluid is a high protein clear to yellowish fluid that flows between cells. Originating as the plasma fluid in blood it delivers nutrients, oxygen and hormones to cells. Once the fluid leaves the
cells it then picks up waste products and nutrients. 90% of this fluid empties into the small veins of the venous system. The other 10% that’s left behind is what is known as lymph fluid.

The lymph enters the lymphatic capillaries which 70% of which are superficial (close to the surface of the skin). The lymphatic capillaries then join larger deeper structures called the lymphatic vessels. These vessels have valves within them that prevent a back flow and move the lymph towards the lymph nodes.

There are approximately 600 – 700 lymph nodes superficial and deep within our bodies.
Lymph nodes act as filtering centres. The filtering begins once the lymph fluid moves into the nodes.
All destructive cells and other pathogens are destroyed.

Some conditions that disturb lymphatic flow;

Can cause secondary lymphoedema

A person who is born with a weakened lymphatic system

Hinders the efficient drainage of lymph as the fat cells are too large for the lymph to drain

Lack of mobility and degeneration of the organs that assist with water regulation can prevent the lymph from being efficiently drained