How Water Ingestion Affects the Lymphatic System

Water and the Lymphatic System

The Importance of Lymphatic Function in the Human Body

The body receives nutrients from approximately 20 liters of blood plasma. The lymphatic system is comprised of low-pressure vessels which deliver interstitial fluid, the body fluid between blood vessels and cells, to the vascular system. Cleansing is a process that is done through the mucous membranes which include the intestines, urinary organs, nose, mouth, eyelids, trachea, and lungs. Lymphocytes are made by bone marrow tissue which is directed to the thymus gland. The thymus gland is responsible for creating T cells that fights infections or other diseases.

Important immune functions occur within the lymphatic system. There are open-ended vessels, lymph nodes, and major organs such as tonsils, spleen, and thymus gland. The lymphatic system is an open and not an enclosed system as lymph is delivered to the heart and reenters the cardiovascular system. Lymph ducts are located all throughout the body as fluids are transported to assist the circulatory system.


Lymphatic System Function

The lymphatic system has two important functions in the body. The first function is to drain the interstitial fluid to sustain the balance between the blood and tissue fluid. The other purpose is to help facilitate immune function to maintain homeostasis in the body. Interstitial fluid is comprised of a water combination of sugars, salts, fatty acids, coenzymes, neurotransmitters, amino acids, hormones, as well as white blood cells, and cell waste products. This combination makes up 26% of the water in the body. (Reference: Wikipedia)

The interactions between the cells and the blood will determine the make-up of the interstitial fluid.  Tissue fluid though has very different combinations of these elements in different areas of the body.

Red blood cells otherwise called platelets are not in the plasma that moves through the blood capillaries into this interstitial fluid because they are too large to pass through. One of the purposes of the lymphatic system is that it sends protein and extra interstitial fluid back into the circulatory system. It’s a very intricate biological process.

According to Dr. Jockers’ informative article Lymphatic Cleansing, 8 Ways to Clear Lymph Congestion, the lymphatic system is crucial to protect you from illness and inflammation so if it’s congested, you won’t be as protected from infections and disease.

The main function of the lymphatic system is to keep your fluid levels balanced which essentially protects you. Also, it collects and expels excess fluids to avoid lymphedema, filters blood for harmful bacteria, and takes part in dietary fat absorption and delivery.

The impediment of the lymphatic system can be for these reasons: chronic stress; acute or chronic infections; gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut bacteria); toxin accumulation; dehydration; sedentary lifestyle; and nutrient deficiencies.


Purpose of Lymph Nodes

Lymphatic vessels from the head and arms empty into lymph nodes of the elbows and armpits. Additionally, fluid drains into the nodes between the lungs or surrounding the intestines. Nodes are also present in the groin area.

Lymph nodes are made from tissues and are bean-shaped. They have a vital role in the immune and circulatory systems as they consist of B-cells, T-cells, dendritic, and macrophages. Nodes are important and necessary because interstitial fluid releases and removes toxic substances through these nodes. Cancer is often spread through lymph nodes so if the nodes are functioning in an optimum way, it is a sign that your body is in good health. If an infection is present, the lymph nodes are usually enlarged.


Warning Signs of Lymphatic System Congestion

In the article Lymphatic Cleansing, 8 Ways to Clear Lymph Congestion, Dr. Jockers suggests there are numerous warning signs listed that may reveal that your lymphatic system is congested. They are clogged ears; constipation; unexplained soreness; confusion or brain fog; itchy or dry skin; sore throat; inflamed tonsils; congestion; frequent viruses or infections; fluid retention; fatigue; food or chemical sensitivities; weight gain; increased allergies; enlarged glands or painful lymph nodes. In order to avoid this congestion, facilitating the oxygen supply to your cells will support lymphatic flow.

Dr. Jockers lists 8 steps you can take to clear lymphatic congestion from your system. They are:

  • Deep breathing
  • Optimal hydration
  • Regular exercise and rebounding
  • Dry brushing and healing baths
  • Specific herbal therapies
  • Alternative showers (hot and cold showers)
  • Massage therapy (lymphatic drainage treatment)
  • Sauna therapy


Effect of Water on the Lymphatic System

Maintaining the lymphatic flow is necessary for the lymphatic system to work properly. For example, dehydration and a lack of movement can slow or impede the flow of the lymphatic system and its ability to drain toxins causing it to be blocked. Water retention can ensue leading to lymphedema, a side effect concerning a blockage of a lymphatic vessel or node. The lymphatic system is a delicate network and can be injured by toxic drugs and cancer treatments.

Since lymph is approximately 95 percent water, adequate hydration is the key to keeping the lymphatic system moving and healthy. (Reference: Lymphatic Cleansing, 8 Ways to Clear Lymph Congestion) Adding lemon to water not only hydrates but detoxifies as well. Drinking warm water during the day will also help the lymph to flow better.

View the diagram in the article Lymphatic Cleansing, 8 Ways to Clear Lymph Congestion) as Dr. Jockers describes what water does for the human body in the How is the Lymphatic System Cleaned section. Water has so many benefits to keeping the body healthy. Some of the reasons why water intake is essential are:

  • Hydration makes the heart pump easier and gets enough oxygen to the muscles
  • Blood cells carry oxygen efficiently which leads to better muscular function and clear thinking
  • Lubricates joints and helps arthritis or back pain
  • Slows the aging process and improves skin texture
  • Allows sweating so that toxins are released
  • Gets rid of toxic waste, delivers it to the liver and kidneys to be removed
  • Without water, toxins are not released through your stool
  • Water aids in cellular repair

The lymphatic system without water or movement will affect your health. In an age where a large portion of the population is dehydrated, hydration is a necessity for optimal health. Staying hydrated and moving on a daily basis whether it’s doing exercise or breath work to infuse oxygen into the body if movement is not possible, and having a well-balanced diet is essential to having a long and healthy life. The body is meant to move so a sedentary lifestyle does not allow it to function or heal at its best, especially considering that the lymphatic system needs flow and not stagnation to function properly.




Biology Dictionary: Lymphatic System

Scientific Nutrition, Health at the Cellular Level

Lymphatic Cleansing, 8 Ways to Clear Lymph Congestion

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