What You Need to Know About Babesia

Air hunger. Fatigue. Poor temperature regulation and night sweats. These are just a few of the daily struggles patients with babesiosis can experience. 

If you are suffering from chronic Lyme disease, it’s likely you are also suffering from a co-infection as well. Lyme disease may be the most famous tick-borne infection, but Babesia is much more common than people give it credit. 

In this article, I’m going to go over what you need to know about Babesia. Read on to learn more about some strategies you can use to overcome this parasitic infection.

Lyme co-infections are common and they’re stopping you from getting better

As a reminder, tick-borne illnesses are much more prevalent than once thought by medical professionals. Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi is the most common strain) alone has now risen to endemic proportions in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Northeast. 

In Minnesota alone, there are at least 50,000 cases of Lyme disease every year. At a 10 percent failure rate, that means at least 5,000 Minnesotans are slipping through the cracks of the medical system and suffering from chronic Lyme disease. Now imagine how many of the people who develop chronic Lyme are also dealing with co-infections or co-infections alone. 

You may only get bitten with an infected tick once, but that single tick bite can infect you with multiple infections. Throughout the results of various studies published in Clinical Microbiology, co-infections appear the most often in people who have Lyme disease. 

To be clear, you can get these infections without getting Lyme disease, but it is extremely common for ticks to be infected with Lyme disease and various co-infections.

This information coincides with what Lyme doctors find in their own practices. According to Dr. Daniel Cameron, the former president of ILADS, 93% of the chronic Lyme patients he saw in his clinic weren’t only dealing with Lyme disease; they were also fighting co-infections like Babesia.

Some of the most common tick-borne infections you can get alongside Lyme or by themselves include other strains of Borrelia and various strains of Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, and Powassan virus.

Getting infected with multiple infections is what probably makes Lyme or any of these infections enter into a chronic state. It can be too much for your immune system to handle.

These infections can be a huge reason why you’re slipping through the cracks of the medical system.

What is Babesia? 

Unlike Lyme, Bartonella, and some other co-infections, Babesia is not a bacterial infection; it is a single-celled, protozoan parasite. In fact, it’s the parasitic distant cousin of malaria.

Since Babesia is a tickborne parasite and not a bacteria, standard antibiotics won’t be successful in eliminating it from your system. You need something that can kill parasites!

While Babesia can be found in many areas across the globe, it’s most often found in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Northeast. 

How many strains of Babesia are there?

Just as with other tickborne infections, you can encounter and host more than one strain of Babesia. 

While there are an exhausting number of Babesia strains, we currently test the two most common: Babesia microti and Babesia duncani. There is progress in adding in a 3rd strain soon to the test, which I am very excited about.

What are some staple symptoms of Babesia?

Babesiosis often starts with chills and a high fever, but the longer a patient has it, the more likely they are to experience many more symptoms. While they can vary greatly, it’s important to note the following symptoms.

Unique symptoms that highly suggest Babesia:

  • Excessive sweating/night sweats 
  • Air hunger/shortness of breath
  • Severe fatigue and malaise

Extremely similar symptoms to Lyme:

  • Joint pain/muscle pain and aches
  • Fatigue
  • Burning, tingling, numbness
  • Headaches/severe headaches/neck aches
  • Joint swelling
  • Fluid retention/swelling
  • Poor memory/dizziness
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chills, shaking chills, and sweats
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea)
  • Bruising
  • Petechiae (small red spots on the skin)
  • Decreased cognition (from intravascular coagulation)
  • Dark urine
  • Eating disorder
  • Emotional lability – a psychological condition characterized by mood swings.

If you’re experiencing air hunger and shortness of breath, of all the zoonotic diseases, this symptom is most attributed to Babesia. However, other infections, like Bartonella, can affect breathing as well. This is due to both Babesia and Bartonella’s effects on red blood cells and the circulatory system. 

Lyme, Babesia, Anaplasma and Bartonella can all cause severe neurological and neuropsychiatric problems. For slightly different reasons, they can all lead to similar symptoms as they interfere with normal nerve physiology. 

Babesia exacerbates Lyme and co-infection symptoms

According to Trends in Parasitology, Babesia may be present in up to 40% of Lyme cases, so this infection cannot be dismissed and overlooked. They also mention that “The number and duration of symptoms are greater in co-infected patients than in those with Lyme disease alone.”

In other words, if you do have Lyme and at least one co-infection, it will exacerbate symptoms from both the Lyme and the co-infection. The Lyme (and/or other infections) symptoms may be heightened because of the Babesia, and vice versa. There’s strength in numbers, and the number of pathogens you have in your body that are harming you definitely impacts your ability to heal. 

Important things to note about Babesia:

  1. Babesia hides Lyme, making it much more difficult to find.
  2. Babesia makes Lyme worse or more severe.
  3. It’s a parasite, so standard antibiotics have a 0% chance of fixing it.
  4. Babesia can protect other organisms and make symptoms recur.
  5. Babesia damages the spleen causing your immune system to weaken, which in turn makes it harder to heal from all the tick infections.

We have other articles/videos where we elaborate more on points 1-3, so in this article, we are going to dive into point 5 and then point 4.

Babesia’s arch nemesis…your spleen! 

The spleen has some incredible abilities. Other organs, like the liver, lungs and kidneys, seem to get a lot more attention, but the spleen is imperative to your health, especially if you have babesiosis. 

The spleen is able to send out chemical messengers that help your body defeat Babesia. 

Cleveland Clinic states that “The spleen is a small organ inside your left rib cage, just above the stomach. It’s part of the lymphatic system (which is part of the immune system). The spleen stores and filters blood and makes white blood cells that protect you from infection. Many diseases and conditions can affect how the spleen works.”

But what exactly does the spleen do? The spleen: 

  • Stores blood.
  • Filters blood by removing cellular waste and getting rid of old or damaged blood cells.
  • Makes white blood cells and antibodies that help you fight infection.
  • Maintains the levels of fluid in your body. 

There are two important parts of the spleen you need to know about called the white pulp and the red pulp. Both parts are important when it comes to Babesia because Babesia is an infection that lives in the red blood cells, and the spleen is responsible for filtering red blood cells. 

  • White pulp: As part of the immune system, the white pulp produces white blood cells. These blood cells make immunoglobulins and antibodies. Antibodies fight infection, so the production of antibodies is essential.
  • Red pulp: The red pulp acts like a filter. It removes waste from the blood and gets rid of old or damaged blood cells. Red pulp also destroys bacteria and viruses. Babesia lives in the red blood cells, so the red pulp gets overworked trying to clean the red blood cells from the Babesia infection. 

It’s particularly important that the spleen filters the blood because this is a blood-borne infection. The spleen is a basic, essential organ for anyone, but especially those facing immune challenges and Lyme, Babesia and other tick-borne illnesses.  

What are blood nests? Miss this and it will all come back to you

Blood nests are Babesia’s version of a biofilm. They protect the parasite from anything that could harm it, along with protecting other organisms, like Lyme and co-infections. 

Because these fibrin nests in the capillaries can protect Babesia and shelter other infections, it’s imperative to break down the nests so you can reach the pathogens. If you can’t break up the nest, you will leave a reservoir of Babesia and likely other tick-borne infections that will return to cause problems as soon as you stop your antimicrobial therapies. Translation: Miss these nests it will all come back as soon as you stop.

How can you help your body fight Babesia?

Support your spleen

When Babesia is present, you have to make adjustments to your Lyme protocol, otherwise, it will fail. We have to add support for the spleen and break up the nests that Babesia forms so Lyme, Babesia and any other co-infections won’t recur.

Many of the herbs and supplements we recommend are multi-purpose, meaning they are great for hitting not only one of the goals but multiple. 

These herbs have both traditional and modern research backing up their effectiveness.

The best herbs I have used in the clinic to kill Babesia are:

  1. Neem
  2. Cryptolepis
  3. Wormwood/Artemisia 
  4. Chinese skullcap

Please note: These herbs are already in the Lyme bundles!

Babesia Program Add-On

You can be healthy. You can live your life to the fullest. And it is possible to get over Babesia, Lyme and any other co-infection. 

Dr. Warren’s Babesia Add-On is specifically designed to help people who are suffering from chronic Babesia, most commonly alongside chronic Lyme. This combination is designed to be taken alongside Dr. Warren’s NutriRestore Lyme Bundles for optimal results.

To learn more about the Babesia Add-On bundle, click here. 

Key NutriRestore supplements for babesiosis: 

  • Red Root
  • Nest Breaker
  • Low Dose Nest Breaker

Red root is ideal because it can boost spleen function, which is vital for immune systems fighting Babesia. It’s excellent for the entire lymphatic system. It’s great for swelling and detoxifying, which can help lessen the severity or presence of Herx reactions, but with Babesia, it’s a must-have to help the spleen.

Both Nest Breaker and Low Dose Nest Breaker break down Babesia’s “blood nest biofilm” which is its protection against killers and your immune system. When we haven’t used these products, we’ve had infections come back more often. The addition of these products lowered the number of times people had recurring infections. This is because Babesia’s blood nests can hide other infections as well. You need to make sure other bugs aren’t using these fibrin nests to hide

Summary

  • Tick-borne illnesses are much more prevalent than once thought by medical professionals. 
  • Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi is the most common strain) alone has now risen to endemic proportions in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Northeast. 
  • You can get co-infections like Babesia without getting Lyme disease, but it is extremely common for ticks to be infected with Lyme disease and various co-infections.
  • Babesia is a single-celled, protozoan parasite.
  • Since Babesia is a tickborne parasite and not a bacteria, antibiotics won’t be successful in eliminating it from your system. 
  • The most common strains of Babesia that can affect humans are Babesia microti, Babesia divergens, and Babesia duncani
  • Babesia can cause an onslaught of symptoms, but the staple symptoms of Babesia are crushing fatigue, air hunger/shortness of breath, and excessive sweating and/or night sweats.
  • Babesia makes Lyme and other co-infection symptoms much worse.
  • Babesia is an infection that lives in the red blood cells, and the spleen is responsible for filtering red blood cells. You must support the spleen so it can help your body fight off infections.
  • Blood nests are Babesia’s version of biofilm that can not only protect Babesia but other pathogens as well. You must break these up in order to reach the infections you’re trying to kill.
  • To get over Lyme and co-infections like Babesia, you must:
    • Balance your immune system and support the spleen
    • Attack Lyme and co-infections like Babesia
    • Repair damage to the body
  • The best herbs I have used in the clinic to kill Babesia are neem, Cryptolepis, wormwood/Artemisia, Chinese skullcap.
  • Key NutriRestore supplements for babesiosis are Red Root, Nest Breaker/Low Dose Nest Breaker.
  • If you have Babesia, you can combine the benefits of your Lyme program with the Babesia Add-On bundle.
  • Remember: You can get over these life-altering tick infections. 

I hope this informative article will help you on your journey toward healing from Babesia, Lyme, and other co-infections. To read more about Babesia, Lyme disease, and other tickborne infections, read more from our blog.

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By Dr. Kyle Warren

Edited by Meghan Feir Walker