Until the other day I had only heard of the Lymphatic System in serious conditions and not given much thought to the role it plays in our body and how an efficient Lymphatic System can help increase your recovery and overall health.
What is the Lymphatic System?
Your Lymphatic System removes waste from every cell in your body and regulates your immune system, its function is to move a clear liquid called Lymph, containing white blood cells around your body to clear out waste and toxins. You have almost twice as much Lymph in your body than you do blood! the network is HUGE! Throughout the Lymph network are small structures called Lymph Nodes, in times of attack/inflammation/harmful organisms your lymph nodes go into overdrive to product antibodies and often can become sensitive or tender.
This is part of the reason I started to read up on the Lymphatic System, a few months ago I detached my Adductor and burst several blood vessels in my leg resulting in blood pooling, my leg filled with blood and became severely bruised, over the next few weeks I could feel tender areas around my groin and swelling, researching online it suggested that my Lymph Nodes could be in overdrive and even congested, preventing a speedy recovery. As I was sitting on the couch on my ass all day unable to move my leg…good times!…I started researching and reading about the incredible role your Lymphatic System plays in the body.
Interestingly your Lymphatic System does not have a pump, like your heart, to move Lymph around your body, instead it requires your movement/muscle contraction and help to get around, one of the best ways of course is exercise!
This is where it gets tricky with a busted leg, being sat on my backside all day, certainly was not helping in Lymph drainage and recovery of my injury. I wanted to find out further symptoms of a sluggish Lymphatic System and to see if there were any supplements or dietary changes I could make to improve the overall well being of my system, reaching the conclusion that an optimal and efficient Lymphatic System would not only assist in the recovery of my injury, but now armed with this information meant that keeping a healthy system at the top of my priority list will help long term with training, recovery and health!
Let’s imagine you’re injured or have toxins in your body, but you sit on the couch or lay in bed not moving, this can lead to a pooling effect of toxins, and in severe cases create a blockage in your Lymphatic System.
What are some of the symptoms of a sluggish Lymphatic System?
As I researched this, I started to realize that perhaps my Lymphatic System needed help a long time ago!…
- Dry skin
- Feeling tired
- Trouble sleeping/staying asleep
- Holding on to water in trouble areas (lower back for me)
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- GI Issues
Just to name a few! have you ever had a day where you feel sluggish and mental fog? again these could be symptoms of a poor Lymphatic System.
For me sleep was big thing, I often wake in the night and find it hard to get back to sleep, in the afternoons I feel an overwhelming fatigue and as the day goes on I find water retention increases and bloating becomes an issue.
So how can we maintain a healthy Lymphatic System or even repair it?
- Clean up your diet, stop eating processed crap, meat, dairy, gluten and reduce sugar/refined carbohydrates.
- Supplement with liver and kidney enzymes/support/supplements
- Take an intolerance test to foods or allergies test that may be putting added stress on your body.
- Drink at least 2 liters of filtered or purified water a day
- Exercise regularly – skipping or jumping on a trampoline can be one of the best ways to increase efficiency in less that 10min a day!
- Try not to sit/be inactive for extended periods of time
- There are specialist lymphatic massage experts that can stimulate lymphatic drainage
- De-stress – take time for yourself, reduce general stress around you
As I already take part in most of the above! I decided to seek out some additional supplements and a tiger roller! to support my Lymphatic System.
Supplements I found were…
- Swanson Condition Specific Kidney Essentials
- Swanson Ultra Diosvein Diosmin/Hesperidein
- Swanson Condition Lymph Essentials with Yellow Clover Extract
- Milk Thistle
As for the Tiger Roller, this thing is amazing, it is a massage roller that I have been using all week on my leg and feels like it makes a huge impact!
It is very early to tell with the supplements as this is only day 3, but last night I had the highest quality night sleep I have had in about 6 weeks and woke up today looking drier than normal. Time will tell, but I am positive about the assistance these supplements can give me and will keep the health of my Lymphatic System at the top of my list for overall body efficiency and well being.