Inside the body, the immune system consists of an’army’ of particular cells. These defenders each have distinct purposes and are located in various regions of the body. As an example, some do their work in the blood, tonsils, appendix and spleen, while some operate from the gut and lymph nodes. For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to consider the particular purpose of the lymphatic system in encouraging immunity.
- Lymphocytes: These are a sort of white blood cell which determine the sort of immune response to infectious germs and other foreign substances that enter the body. Lymph: This is a clear fluid, which bathes the cells and carries immune cells (such as T and B lymphocytes). The lymphatic system collects excess fluids, gases, nutrients, ions, hormones, enzymes and plasma cells from surrounding tissues and returns them into the blood flow, once pathogens, toxins and waste matter have been filtered out.
- Lymph vessels: Fluids move from our blood vessels into tissue spaces, and into lymph capillaries. These then combine to form larger lymph vessels. The lymph vessels carry lymph. Lymph nodes: Located along the lymph vessels, these are small glands interspersed along lymphatic vessels. They act as collection sites and cleaning filters, which form a part of an immune system reaction against infection. Lymph must pass , before going into the blood.
- Tonsils: Tonsils are both lymph nodes located on both sides of the back of your throat. They serve as a defence mechanism, helping to prevent disease from entering the rest of the body. The thymus gland: Located behind the sternum and between the lungs, this gland is only active until puberty. After puberty, the thymus begins to shrink and is slowly replaced by fat. Thymosin is the hormone of the thymus, and it stimulates the growth of disease-fighting T cells.
- Peyer’s patches: These are small masses of lymphatic tissue found in the small intestine. They form an important part of the immune system by tracking intestinal bacteria populations and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines. Did you know that possibly the most important part of your immune system would be on your gut? A huge 70 percent of antibody-producing cells are situated at Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT), located in the gut. GALT is considered the greatest collection of immune cells in the human body.
- The spleen: The spleen is an organ located on the left-hand side of the upper abdomen. Its most important functions are to filter the blood, create new blood cells and keep platelets. Additionally it is an integral part of the immune system.
What does it do?
- Fight disease – as we’ve already mentioned, the lymph nodes contain elevated levels of white blood cells that engulf bacteria. If we have an infection, the nodes closest to the website expand as the white blood cells multiply within them. This is the reason lymph nodes (for instance in the neck, armpits and groin) frequently become swollen during illness – this means that they do their job!
So with this in mind, it’s easy to understand how the lymphatic system plays an essential role in eliminating toxins and pathogens in the body and thereby generally supporting the immune system. Keep that lymph moving! Among the main things to learn about the lymphatic system is that it doesn’t have a circulatory’pump’ equal to the heart. However, given it is a collection point for many toxins and waste products, it’s obviously important to maintain these undesirable substances moving, finally heading for elimination from the body. You may be surprised to learn that we have approximately 3 times the amount of lymph fluid in our bodies than we do blood.
Compared to blood, which can be pumped around by the heart’s contractions, lymphatic fluid generally flows around our body . But how does this occur? This therefore highlights the importance of maintaining active and breathing deeply – by doing this, you’ll be supporting lymphatic drainage and helping to cleanse your immune system! The average modern way of life, full of anxiety, work pressures, family pressures, lack of exercise, environmental toxins and unhealthy foods can place a massive strain on our toxic loads and, thus, the lymphatic system on a daily basis. A sensible exercise regime and healthy diet can go a long way towards reducing this burden.