The lymphatic system is the most ignored part of the circulatory system, which is unfortunate because it plays a major role in health and disease.
A good friend of mine, Dr. Gerald Lemole, has been a leader in researching the role of the lymphatic system in cardiovascular disease, and was the first to propose that impairment of the lymphatic flow from the walls of blood vessels might play a major role in atherosclerosis.
Since then, others have supported his hypothesis.
Dr. Lemole, a longtime professor of cardiovascular surgery at Temple University School of Medicine, is a medical visionary and a deep thinker.
What he observed is that the larger arteries have thick walls that are drained by very small lymphatic vessels.
Because these lymphatic vessels are located along the outer rim of the blood vessel wall, macrophages filled with oxidized fats and cholesterol must travel a long way for removal from the vessel wall.
Furthermore, the oxidized fats inhibit the movement of the cholesterol-filled macrophages, which are then unable to reach the lymphatics for removal.
As a result, the oxidized fats and cholesterol get stuck within the walls of the arteries and forms atherosclerotic plaque, which can then lead to heart attacks and strokes.
He notes that a number of things can impair lymphatic drainage of the arterial wall, including inflammation, microparticulate automobile exhaust, stress, occult infections, and heavy metals.
The good news is that there are a number of simple ways to increase lymphatic flow: deep breathing exercises, physical exercise, relaxing prayer, and the use of certain nutrient supplements, such as hesperidin and diosmin.
Dr. Lemole also told me that the heart itself is dependent on lymphatic drainage and that these same methods can improve heart function.
Several studies have shown that such exercises and deep breathing can significantly improve the flow within the lymphatic circulatory system.
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