Guest Blog: Our Lymphatic System

Our Lymphatic System

Our Lymphatic SystemDr. Melina Roberts

The lymphatic system is our secondary circulatory system.  It plays an important role in supporting our immune system and treating inflammation in the body.  The lymphatic system circulates throughout the entire body.  The lymphatic system is made up of lymphatic fluid, lymphatic vessels, lymphatic nodes, the spleen, the thymus, tonsils and Peyer’s patches in the gut.  The lymphatic system drains and cleans up all the tissues in our body.

Lymph nodes are biological filtering units and are distributed throughout the body.  Lymph nodes produce white blood cells called lymphocytes that defend the body against microorganisms and other harmful pathogens or toxins in the lymphatic fluid before it returns to the blood stream.

The obvious sign that the lymphatic system is congested or not flowing effectively is edema or swelling, but there is often more subtle signs such as lowered immune function, chronic infection, chronic inflammation and reduced detoxification capacity.  Reduced immune reactivity is another sign of lymphatic congestion.  The immune system can become less reactive to microorganisms or toxins if the body is in acidosis, therefore when a person says that they never get sick, it is not necessarily a good sign.

Promoting lymphatic drainage is significant in addressing inflammation. The lymphatic system removes and filters inflammatory mediators.

The lymphatic system can become congested from food intolerances, immune challenges, heavy metals, environmental toxins, surgery, scars or structural imbalances.

Food intolerances can lead to the ineffective breakdown of foods where certain proteins get caught in the lymphatic fluid.  Immune challenges such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites whereby the lymphatic system is working to removing and eliminate these pathogens from circulation can lead to congestion of the lymphatic system.  Heavy metals and environmental toxins will congest the lymphatic system as they overload the detoxification pathways and this leads to chronic inflammation. Scars or surgery or structural imbalances can lead to physical barriers in effective drainage of the lymphatic system.

When trying to improve lymphatic circulation, it important to also understand flow pathways of this closed internal system.  We have a superficial lymphatic system that drains our head, neck, skin and breast tissue.  Then we have a deep lymphatic system that drains all of our deep vital organs.  The superficial lymphatic system drains into the deep lymphatic system, the fluid then filters through the liver and empties out the colon.

Most typical lymphatic massages only focus on the superficial lymphatic system and without properly stimulating the deep lymphatic system, there cannot be proper drainage of the superficial lymphatic system into the deep lymphatic system.  Also if the liver is congested or the colon is not moving effectively, then can back up the system and cause congestion of the lymphatic system.

In order to support proper lymphatic drainage, the deep lymphatic system needs to be stimulated, the liver to be supported and the bowels need to be moving effectively.

 

Dr. Roberts is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the province of Alberta and clinic director at Advanced Naturopathic Medical Centre in Calgary.  She is a member of  the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), the Biological Medicine Network, the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine.

 

Biofilms role in today’s health.

What is a BioFilm?

Biofilms are little communities of organisms in your body that join forces to avoid elimination. The protective coating they form is officially called a polymer matrix, which is like a “force field” or barrier that keeps drugs like antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals or any other antimicrobial from being effective in removing them. They are a huge concern in the medical community at the moment, however, many patients and physicians don’t even know about them. 

Biofilms are capable of adapting to many environments and thus can be found in all parts of the body. These areas include teeth, sinuses, tonsils, eustachian tubes of the middle ear and the intestines. Biofilms in the intestines can lead to chronic digestive and allergic responses often seen in difficult cases.

Immune Imbalance

The immune system is responsible for attacking, controlling and eliminating biofilms. In healthy individuals, this happens regularly, however, in susceptible individuals, biofilms can take hold and begin to wreak havoc on the whole body, specifically the immune system.

T-Cells

By launching an attack on the biofilms via immune cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, cytotoxic T cells and T lymphocytes) the body also creates a significant amount of inflammation. What happens then is the immune system shifts to what we call a TH2 dominant state with the TH1 cells in a lowered state. By shifting to TH2 dominance, the body is then unable to launch a full TH1 attack and eliminate the biofilm. It is most likely constantly battling the biofilm, but simply doesn’t have enough strength to eliminate it.

A TH2 dominant state is very common in many conditions. The TH2 dominant state is what we find in many people with traditional allergies. If you have an overactive TH2 dominant system, you will tend to have food allergies and sensitivities or airborne allergies and an increase in histamine release. This may even be confused with histamine intolerance. Some things that may push someone towards TH2 dominance include genetic predisposition, toxic substances and heavy metal exposure.

Biofilms and the Gut

One of the reasons you may have biofilms in the first place is due to early exposure to antibiotics. There are actually good biofilms that can be destroyed by antibiotics. These good biofilms and healthy gut flora provide a natural type of defense to foreign invaders.   Without the good biofilms as a defense mechanism, bad biofilms can proliferate and destroy the gut lining and increase permeability, a term commonly coined as “leaky gut”. With leaky gut, the intestinal barrier is compromised and allows substances to move into the bloodstream. By allowing different substances into the bloodstream, inflammation begins and things such as food allergies and sensitivities eventually alter the health of the immune system. The leaky gut will lead us to a TH2 dominant state as I mentioned above. Leaky gut also can slow down digestion, decrease toxin clearance and initiate proinflammatory chemicals.

Clinical Research

Research in gut health and immune system responses to permeable gut linings are revealing significantly new understandings into how these natural defenses work. This new research also helps us learn how to support the body’s ability to maintain a balanced and healthy gut flora.  

Dr. Paul S. Anderson is on the leading forefront of biofilm research and education.  

We are excited to announce that we have received exclusive access to Dr. Paul Anderson’s webinar on BioFilms, worth $59.00 – and are offering it to you for FREE!

Visit this page for more information.

Good health to you!

Danielle Baumgart, President

Priority One Nutritional Supplements Inc.