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What is Your Hard Working Glymphatic System?

Picture of the brain with text talking about detoxifying with the glymphatic system

The Glymphatic System is your brain’s defense and detoxification!


The glymphatic system and your sleep is a critical component of detoxification and Nervous System (brain) protection.  The Lymph System is a system that is more common to many of you. This system is replicated in the brain, called the the glymphatic system.

 The glymphatic system is KEY to brain health, and immunity. Proper sleep is key to keeping this system working. Your brain controls and regulates your sleep. It also regulates the DEPTH of your sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, there are areas in your brainstem, and your hypothalamus that keep you awake. (1). There are other areas that help you wind down to sleep.  One area is the tuberomamillary nucleus, the TMN. Neurons here release histamine, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in brain wakefulness. 

Our Full Scan looks for stress in the hypothalamus, and for energetic imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters like histamine.

The areas responsible for wakefulness and for sleeping need to be in balance and communication for a proper transition. There are things we do that disrupt this balance.  Stay tuned for a future post on proper sleep hygiene!

If you are interested in keeping your brain healthy, you need to understand the role of the glymphatic system in your sleep!

This blog post will:

  • Introduce you to the glymphatic system
  • Explain how the glymphatic system works
  • Link the glymphatic system to the lymph system, and the nervous system

This system is hard at work while you are sleeping. Think of the glymphatic system like the ‘garbage men’ for our brain, clearing out all of the waste that has built up throughout the day.

What IS the glymphatic system exactly?

Your brain, just like other tissues in the body, creates waste. During our waking hours, this ‘waste’ comes from precursor proteins, called amyloid-betas, and other metabolites that accumulate in our brain. If this ‘waste’ isn’t removed regularly, these precursor proteins can stick around, form into plaque, and may damage our neurons.

This may be one contributor to the higher risk of dementia, and other neurodegenerative issues, over time. Brain health is a big concern for post menopausal women and andropausal men. Sleep and sleep hygiene is one way to support the health of your brain, and Nervous System, overall.

If our sleep quality and/or duration of sleep is poor, our glymphatic system cannot do its job as effectively.

In any area of the body, there is fluid surrounding tissues, called interstitial fluid. This fluid helps with balance of the tissue. This fluid exists in interstitial spaces, and the components of it get funneled into the Lymph System.

The brain also has interstitial fluid. The glymphatic system helps with clearance of waste in the brain, like the Lymph System of the body.  Let’s be more specific. And scientific.

Astroglial cells, also known as astrocytes, are cells in the brain that work to maintain balance, or homeostasis, and defend the nervous system. They are part of this clearance system that removes waste of the central nervous system, through channels made by these astroglial cells.

The glymphatic system may also help bring glucose, lipids, amino acids, to the brain (1).

How does the glymphatic system work?

Your cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF,  flows alongside arteries in the brain, and exists in spaces beside smaller blood vessels that flow into the brain (2). In these spaces it mixes with interstitial fluid. There are channels made by those  astroglial cells, where all this fluid flow. Artery pulsing, respiration, and pressure within the brain, helps this glymphatic system move waste products out of the brain.

In animal studies, while the animals are sleeping, it is shown that the interstitial space, where the interstitial fluid accumulates, increases in volume.

This brain drain system is most active during sleep, and least active while you are awake. Therefore, this system can’t do it’s job if you are up watching too much Netflix at night!

Disrupting circadian rhythms, and your sleep means that the brain is not activating the glymph system.  The brain needs to be in this state of “inactivity” to carry out the job of elimination of waste products that may be toxic to the brain.

Waste products include dead cells, and another is called β-amyloid. These are proteins that accumulate between nerve cells in the brain. These plaques are thought to be toxic to the brain, and are implicated in brain diseases like Alzheimers, through the amyloid hypothesis.

The theory or hypothesis says that these plaques, once formed can’t be broken down by the body.

How does the glymph system connect to the Lymph System?

This drainage system, is connected to the body’s lymph system through a lymph network associated with:

  • the outer areas of the brain
  • the meninges
  • nerves of the brain called cranial nerves
  • blood vessels that run out of the skull

From here, the fluid travels and drains into cervical lymph nodes, which are in the neck. Then the fluid it enters into the body’s lymph transport system.

As we age, there may be narrowing of lymph vessels, and reduced drainage to these lymph nodes (3).

What about TOXINS and the Glymph System?

There are many environmental toxins that influence brain and nervous system health. The top Nervous System energetic toxins we see on Bioresonance Scans are Chemicals and Metals including:

  • Mercury
  • Aluminum
  • Poly-fluorinated compounds
  • Xenoestrogens
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Borrelia

Chemicals and metals impact the endocrine system, digestive system, endocrine system (which is intimately tied to that nervous system), and all your detox organs.

Support For Your Glymph System:

During aging, meningeal lymphatic vessels exhibit decreased vessel diameter and reduced drainage to cervical lymph nodes. These are the lymph in your neck, remember? Your Glymph system drains in here. Keeping your lymph system flowing, through movement, nutrition, dry brushing, hydration, digestion, elimination and even posture will support the special draining system fo the brain, the glymphatic system.

Does that make you think twice about those late night Netflix binges?

It does for us!

Have trouble with sleep?

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Sources:

  1. https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/how/neurophysiology
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4636982/
  3. https://neuronline.sfn.org/scientific-research/understanding-the-glymphatic-system
  4. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2021.639140/full

*This post is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice.