Hair lossI guess things are going better, because I am starting to notice other things.  Things that are far more minor.  Things like my hair loss.

When you’re in excruciating pain, you don’t give a toss about being almost bald.  But when that pain fades a little, those smaller issues are able to come to the fore. The upside of this is I am clearly in less pain these days.

So now let’s deal with the hair loss!

It’s a very common symptom.  Whether it comes from the rheumatoid arthritis, the medications, or whether it is a sign of Lupus (which sometimes my rheumy thinks I have, and other times my rheumy things I don’t) I don’t know.

What I do know is I have about a third of the hair that I once had.  I am always trying to find ways to make it look thicker.  In the end I usually just whack it up in a pony tail, and hope no one notices how thin that pony tail really is.

When I started taking methotrexate  my hair loss accelerated. Then when I took Arava (leflunomide), it started coming out in great handfuls.  Personally I think Arava did the major damage.

But I have been off Arava for many weeks now, and my hair is still coming out in clumps.  It amazes me that I have any left at all, infact!   My shower is covered in clumps of hair.  I know.  EWWWW!

So I have been reading about biotin.  I’ve been taking it for a week.  And quite amazingly, no more hand fulls of hair in the shower anymore.  Still some hair fall, but much, much less.

It seems to be helping.

So what is biotin?

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin. It’s also known as vitamin B7 or Vitamin H. Biotin is present in the body naturally and it is essential for metabolic processing of carbohydrates, protein and fat.  Some say that biotin can help you lose weight as it helps your metabolism operate optimally…I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds like a nice benefit!

The main reason people take biotin is to improve the thickness and quality of hair and strengthen their fingernails.  It can only assist if you are deficient in biotin, however.  The theory is that DMARDs like methotrexate and Arava deplete your B group vitamins, including biotin, and that causes the hair loss.

So what dose to take?

Recommendations vary from 300mcg per day to 5000 mcg per day.  I’m taking 1200mcg.  Start there and see how I go.

It’s an extremely safe supplement.  It has been studied in doses up toe 5000mg per day with no adverse effects noted.

It’s also very cheap, so not a lot to lose.  And as I said, it seems to be working. It could be co-incidence, but my hair loss has slowed.

So I would say if you’re losing your hair, give it a shot.  It might just help. And I believe if you look better, you feel better too.