Symptoms of Poor Lymphatic Functioning and What You Can Do About It

Did you know that the lymphatic system is one of the most vital systems in our body?

Circulation


Dr. Owen Wiseman, ND


21 July 2022

What is the lymphatic system and what does it do?

The lymphatic system is made up of a network of vessels that carries lymph fluid and white blood cells throughout the body. The lymphatic system also includes the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and bone marrow. These organs help to filter the lymph fluid and produce white blood cells. The lymphatic system is essential for our health and well-being, and we should do everything we can to keep it functioning properly.

Symptoms of poor lymphatic function

  • Swelling in extremities
  • Poor immunity
  • Frequent infections
  • Skin problems (acne, eczema, etc.)
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Fatigue and general malaise

How to keep your lymphatic system functioning properly?

One of the more mundane ways is having a lymphatic drainage massage, or Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD). MLD is a very gentle, light effleurage massage that moves the skin in the direction of the lymph nodes, which encourages movement of stagnant lymph out of the tissues and back into circulation.

There are also some basic things you can do at home to keep your lymph system flowing.

  • Taking a hot-cold shower alternates between dilation and constriction of lymph vessels, helping to move stagnation along.
  • Exercising also helps get things moving by contracting muscles, which in turn moves the lymph fluid.
  • Dry brushing is another method used to stimulate the lymphatic system. This helps to move lymph along by stimulating the skin. Use a natural bristle brush and stroke towards the heart.

Your natural solution

You might also consider some support from mother nature's garden including horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum).

The compounds contained in the seeds are diverse, but one stands out for its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous properties - aescin. This compound is thought to work by strengthening the walls of capillaries and veins, thereby reducing capillary permeability and edema. Research on aescin has shown it to be effective in reducing edema, inflammation, and pain associated with chronic venous insufficiency.

In one study, it was shown to be as effective as compression stockings in reducing ankle and calf circumference, helping to keep the swelling down. [1, 2] In another study, 300mg taken daily for 8 weeks reduced leg volume by 16.5 ml compared to 3.8 ml in the placebo group. [3]

This is why it is vital to choose clinical products like Venaforce that comes as oral tablets, liquid tincture and a topical gel for your convenience. It has undergone three clinical trials and a review that demonstrates the efficacy of this high-quality, standardized extract of horse chestnut. [4, 5, 6, 7] Each tablet contains almost 200 mg of the seed and is standardized to 50 mg of aescin per tablet. You can also combine the gel and a manual lymph drainage massage for added benefit, working towards the heart.

Foods that help support the lymphatic system

The gut-associated lymphoid tissue, also known as GALT, is a vital part of the immune system. It helps protect the body from infection and disease by producing antibodies and other immune factors.

GALT is located in the digestive tract, including the small intestine and colon.

The health of GALT is important for overall health and well-being, especially given what researchers have uncovered about the gut-brain connection. One team of researchers even looked at the impact of prebiotics on the gut-brain axis outside of their action in feeding the healthy species of the microbiome. [8]

There are many different foods that support the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Some of the best foods to eat for GALT health include prebiotic and probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, as well as leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. Other good GALT-supporting foods include garlic, onions, and ginger. All these foods help to promote a healthy gut flora, which is essential for proper lymphatic functioning. You could also consider options that are rich in prebiotic lactic acid like Molkosan, perfect for adding to smoothies or even taken on its own.

Exercise tips for keeping your lymphatic system healthy

When you exercise, your body pumps lymphatic fluid through the vessels and nodes in your system. This increased flow helps clear away the toxins that have built up in the tissues. Exercise also increases the number of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that fight infection. Therefore, extra body mass can push you the other way, impairing the proper circulation of lymphatic liquid. A team of researchers are quoted as saying, "In conclusion, in the present study we showed that aerobic exercise, independent of weight loss, can reverse obesity‐related lymphatic dysfunction." [9]

To keep your lymphatic system functioning properly, aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Walking, biking, swimming, and yoga are all great choices. If you're short on time, three 10-minute sessions spread throughout the day will do the trick.

Tips for reducing stress and promoting relaxation

  • Biofeedback. This is a type of stress reduction training that uses feedback from your body to help you learn how to control your physiological response to stress. Certain clinics have equipment that can help you visualize the response of your body and help teach you to control it.
  • Stretching. Just like with any form of exercise, moving your muscles encourages the circulation of lymph.
  • Meditation. This is a practice that can be used to improve lymphatic function as shown in a recent review. For example, for those diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 8 weeks of mindful practices buffered the decline in CD4+ T lymphocytes.
  • Aromatherapy. Essential oils are a great way to relax and promote lymphatic function. Some of the best oils for relaxation include lavender, chamomile, and geranium. All these oils have a calming scent that can help you unwind after a long day. You can either diffuse them in your home or inhale them directly from the bottle.
  • Listening to calming music. A member of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience out of King's College London reviewed the research to date on music and immunity. Relaxing music reduced levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body and activated parts of the brain associated with a sense of calm.[10] Another study found stimulation with low-frequency sound improved lymphatic circulation and reduced pain in those with fibromyalgia. [11]
  • There are many things you can do to improve lymphatic function, including eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and reducing stress. Taking care of your lymphatic system is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. Consider adding some of the foods and activities listed in this article to your routine to help keep your lymphatic system functioning at its peak.

References

1. Diehm, C., et al. "Comparison of leg compression stocking and oral horse-chestnut seed extract therapy in patients with chronic venous insufficiency." The Lancet 347.8997 (1996): 292-294.
2. Diehm, C., and C. Schmidt. "Venostasin® retard gegen Plazebo und Kompression bei Patienten mit CVI II/IIIA. Final Study Report 2000. Rational therapy of chronic venous insufficiency-chances and limits of the therapeutic use of horse-chestnut seeds extract." BMC Cardiovascular Disorders (2001): 5.
3. Lohr, E., et al. "Ödempräventive Therapie bei chronischer Veneninsuffizienz mit Ödemneigung." Munchen. Med. Wochen 128 (1986): 579-581.
4. Geissbühler, S., and F. H. Degenring. "Treatment of chronic venous insufficiency with Aesculaforce vein gel." Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 11 (1999): 82-87.
5. Shah D, Bommer S, Degenring FH. Aesculaforce bei chronisch venöser Insuffizienz. Placebokontrollierte Doppelblind-Studie zum Nacjweis der Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit eines Phytotherapeutikums. Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed. 1997;9:86-91.
6. Suter, Andy, Silvia Bommer, and Jordan Rechner. "Treatment of patients with venous insufficiency with fresh plant horse chestnut seed extract: a review of 5 clinical studies." Advances in therapy 23.1 (2006): 179-190.
7. Dickson, Sylvia, et al. "An open study to assess the safety and efficacy of Aesculus hippocastanum tablets (Aesculaforce® 50 mg) in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency." Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy 4.2 (2004): 19-32.
8. Franco-Robles, Elena, et al. "Prebiotics and the Modulation on the Microbiota-GALT-Brain Axis." Prebiotics and Probiotics-Potential Benefits in Nutrition and Health. IntechOpen, 2019.
9. Hespe, Geoffrey E., et al. "Exercise training improves obesity‐related lymphatic dysfunction." The Journal of physiology 594.15 (2016): 4267-4282.
10. Rebecchini, Lavinia. "Music, mental health, and immunity." Brain, Behavior, & Immunity-Health 18 (2021): 100374.
11. Naghdi, Lili, et al. "The effect of low-frequency sound stimulation on patients with fibromyalgia: A clinical study." Pain research and management 20.1 (2015): e21-e27.

A.Vogel Venaforce® Extra - Horse Chestnut tablets for varicose veins

A.Vogel Venaforce® Extra

30 Tabs

$ 27.69

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To treat heavy and tired legs, like varicose veins and painful haemorrhoids.
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