The Lymphatic Connection Lining our Insides
The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels, nodes, and pathways that carry lymphatic fluid throughout the body, much the way arteries and veins circulate blood. In fact, lymphatic vessels flow alongside your blood vessels. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump (the heart). In- stead it relies on muscle movement and contraction to push fluid through its channels. This means exercise and massage aren’t just important for soothing your mind and muscles; they’re also essential for a healthy lymphatic system.
Lymphatic fluid carries white blood cells called lymphocytes. These cells act like bodyguards, disabling harmful foreign invaders picked up from your blood. Ever notice that when you’re sick, your lymph nodes are swollen? That’s because they are working overtime to rid your body of foreign invaders.
Your GALT is also part of the lymphatic system. The GALT is the intersection of our gastrointestinal system, immune system, and nervous system and is made up of a network of immune cells and membranes that line the inside passages of our body. Think of it as our “inside skin.” The functions of the skin are to absorb nutrients and provide a barrier that protects toxins from getting into the body. In a sense, it’s part of our immune system. The GALT works similarly, but it lines the inside passages of our body, including the sinuses, nose, lungs, mouth, esophagus, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, colon, vagina, urethra, and bladder.
A healthy GALT absorbs nutrients and eliminates toxins. When we eat, foods—protein, fat, and carbohydrates—get broken down by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine into smaller units. Protein turns into amino acids, fat into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into glucose. These micronutrients transport across the GALT layer into the bloodstream and then out to the proper tissues.
Toxins, waste and undigested food can't make their way through the GALT so they get eliminated through the large intestine as stool. When the GALT does what it’s supposed to do, nutrients get to your cells and waste goes straight to the exit. But if your GALT is weak, it doesn’t matter how much green juice you drink—very few of the nutrients you’re consuming are being absorbed by your body. Instead they pass right through like water. It’s what I call “expensive urine.”
The GALT's second job is to prevent infection. When your GALT is healthy, you’re less likely to get sick. You’ve probably seen this concept in action at the office. One per- son comes down with the flu. Half the office soon catches it, while the other half isn’t affected at all. People who get sick aren’t breathing more bugs than the others. Much of their immunity depends on the health of their GALT.
When the GALT is weakened, fewer nutrients are absorbed and risk of infection increases as more toxins and allergens are able to make their way into our bloodstream.
When more toxins enter your bloodstream, white blood cells—the antibodies programmed to recognize what belongs in your body and what doesn’t—flag them as foreign invaders they need to get rid of and produce an immune or allergy response. Most allergies and immune problems start with a breakdown of the GALT.
Come back tomorrow to read about Leaky Gut Syndrome!