Lymph Fluid: Composition & Function

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Lymph Nodes: Anatomy & Location

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is Lymph?
  • 0:50 What Is It Made Of?
  • 1:54 Where Is It Found?
  • 2:58 What Does It Do?
  • 3:57 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Lymph gets the short end of the stick when it comes to bodily fluids. Blood gets all the attention. Have you even heard of a movie being 'lymphy?' However, lymph is where much of the real defense of your body happens.

What Is Lymph?

Think about something for a moment. Your body is around 75% water. So, where do you think all that water is? Of course, around four to six liters of fluid in your body is blood, which does have water in it. Also, your stomach acid is diluted to some degree by water, lest it eat through your entire body.

But what about your organs? They, too, contain water, but that doesn't mean that the cells themselves are tiny water balloons. Instead, a great deal of the soft tissue in your body is comprised of cells floating in a suspension of liquid known as interstitial fluid. Lymph is the result of this interstitial fluid making its way to the lymphatic system, a whole collection of vessels and organs dedicated to maintaining balance and providing immune cells.

What Is It Made Of?

Lymph doesn't always look the same. Throughout most of the body, it looks sort of like a weak milky fluid, somewhere between white and a pale yellow. It gets that pale color from the protein waste products and immune cells that it carries. It takes these cells and proteins away from the cells in question and onward to be processed out of your body. In short, your lymph is like a garbage truck being driven by police officers - it has the primary job of removing waste products, but it isn't afraid to arrest something that looks suspicious.

There is one exception, however. Lymph is also useful for transporting fatty acids throughout the body. This particular kind of lymph is called chyle. Have a diet a little too heavy in deep fried pastries covered in butter? The extra fatty acids are absorbed by this chyle, which is very efficient in collecting fats. From the intestines, the chyle makes its way into the bloodstream, where some of the fatty acid is used as energy, but much of it ends up as the sort of fat that causes cardiovascular health issues.

Where Is It Found?

This transformation from interstitial fluid to lymph is a little difficult to follow, so let's follow it through the cycle. You drink water, and it enters your digestive tract. It's then absorbed by the small intestine and enters the blood stream. The pumping action of the heart pushes some of this water out of the blood vessels and into the space between cells. This is where it becomes interstitial fluid.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account