Lymphatic System's Role in Immunity: "Doc Talks" with Dr. Daniel Nuzum
Jonathan Hunsaker: Curious how your lymphatic system plays a role in your immunity and your immune system?
Jonathan Hunsaker here with Organixx. Today we’re talking about the lymphatic system, specifically, how does it affect immunity? How does it affect your immune system? I think the lymphatic system is confusing to a lot of people in really understanding how it works, so let’s go to Doc Nuzum to find out more.
Dr. Daniel Nuzum: Our question is “How does the lymphatic system interact with our immunity, or how does that affect our immunity?” Let’s talk about the lymphatic system first before we go into answering that question.
Your body’s lymphatic system is your body’s drainage system. Your lymphatic system is your body’s sewer system. As gross as that might sound, your organs, your muscles, your joints, your brain, your spinal cord, every tissue in your body is part of the metabolic process, so every tissue in your body creates waste.
And that waste has to leave those tissues somehow. Some of it leaves through the circulation of our blood. The blood brings nutrients in, it deposits the nutrients and carries off waste. There’s more waste produced than the blood can carry away. So, we have this backup system; the sewage system called our lymphatic system.
In your lymphatic system, every so many millimeters in the lymphatic vessels, you have little valves. And those valves hold the lymphatic fluid in little containment chambers. These lymphatic vessels, okay, these pipes—there are these valves all along these pipes. And those valves only open up if there’s pressure on the vessel. So, the vessel has to kind of get squashed, if that makes sense, to open up those valves.
And the design is for muscular activity—okay, when muscle contracts, it squeezes those lymphatic vessels, those lymph valves open up, and the fluid flows through the system. Okay? This is how the lymphatic system circulates. Your circulatory—your blood system, has a pump. It’s called your heart, alright? And it pumps and pushes the blood throughout your system. It circulates it all, right?
But your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump. Your muscular activity is what pumps the fluid throughout your system, okay? Every so often, throughout the lymphatic system, particularly around joints and around organs, you’ll find lymph nodes, okay? And those lymph nodes are like checkpoints all throughout the lymphatic system.
You have typically between 600-1,200 lymph nodes in your body. What they are is little filtration centers, okay? What’s interesting is the lymph node, if you do a cross-section or you cut a lymph node in half and looked at it, and you took a kidney and cut it in half and looked at it, they’re structurally almost identical.
They act as filters. And so, as the fluids, the sewage in the lymphatic system flows into these filters, the filters then start to clean it up. They start filtering out viruses and bacteria and fungus and parasites, and then they try to concentrate out as many other toxins, like heavy metals and industrial byproducts and things like that, all that kind of stuff gets concentrated in the lymph nodes.
Eventually, all of this lymph fluid has to flow back to our liver and our kidneys, where they are entirely filtered. Here’s an interesting fact. Lymph fluid and butter have a similar property. That property is that they are both thixotropic fluids. Thixotropic fluids become harder the colder they get, but the warmer they get, the more vicious they become.
If someone is sedentary, their body doesn’t produce as much heat as someone that’s active. When we’re active, that heat “melts” the lymphatic fluid, so it flows easily. Okay, if you aren’t active and you’re sedentary, the lymphatic fluid can become very, very thick and “gunked up” with toxic waste and materials.
When that happens, the white blood cells that are supposed to mature in our lymphatic system get stuck in that gunk. When that happens, those white blood cells don’t ever learn. They’re not trained properly as to how to defend us.
The lymphatic system plays all kinds of roles in our immunity. As a sewer system, it collects waste and drains it away from our vital organs. If our vital organs were to back up with waste, and if that waste was to back up into our systems, we die from what’s called sepsis. It’s very, very bad.
But if all that’s flowing away from our organs, our vital organs, we actually—things can heal properly, okay? And nutrition can happen. If toxins are filling out organs, there’s no place for nutrition to go. And so, we have to flush the toxic waste out of our organs so that we can feed them properly.
The next aspect is that it becomes a catch-all in the lymph nodes for viruses and bacteria, and microbes, infectious microorganisms get captured by our lymph nodes and then digested by the white blood cells and enzymes in the lymph nodes.
The last one we’ll talk about here is that our white blood cells. Our soldiers, spend part of their life in our lymphatic system being conditioned to go out and be good soldiers. If the lymphatic system is all plugged up and it’s not flowing well, and those white blood cells get stuck in the system, one, they don’t circulate out into the rest of our body as we need them to, two, they don’t become equipped to be good soldiers and therefore don’t fight as well for us.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Thanks, Doc. So, it’s exciting how our lymphatic fluid is a lot like butter. And the colder it is, the harder, the thicker it is. And it just gets all gunked up, and it doesn’t drain and detox our body the way it’s supposed to. So again, the takeaway is to make sure you move your body more. Get out, get some more exercise, walk up and down some stairs, do some rebounding on a small trampoline, little things like that to get the fluid moving, get it warmed up, allow it to drain, and you’re going to feel a whole lot better.