Iodine: A Critical Mineral for Weight Loss: If adjusting your diet and exercising more hasn't helped you reach a healthy body weight, you may have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland. Fortunately, you can help normalize an underactive thyroid gland by increasing your intake of the mineral iodine. Iodine may just be the most overlooked mineral, yet its importance to overall health and well being cannot be overstated. Iodine is critical for the formation of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland. People who have difficulty losing weight even though they eat small portions of health promoting foods may be short on iodine. Symptoms of iodine deficiency: Iodine deficiency can lead to dull and brittle hair, balding, lack of skin tone, low energy levels, difficulty dealing with environmental temperature change, poor concentration, constipation, depression, and extreme fatigue. In addition to low thyroid functioning, symptoms of iodine deficiency include depression, weight gain, weak heartbeat, extreme dry hair and skin, swelling of the legs, decreased ability to concentrate, muscle cramps, puffiness or swelling of the eyes, and chronic aches and pains. Fatigue is a common symptom, characterized by the urge to fall asleep when not active. Hypersensitivity to cold, or cold hands and feet is another frequently reported symptom. When the metabolism is not up to par, there is less energy and heat produced. Why many people are iodine deficient: Health conscious people expect conventional produce to be grown in soils deficient in essential minerals. They may be surprised to find out that organic produce is also often lacking sufficient amounts of iodine. Adequate intake of iodine was once a recognized problem that was solved by adding small amounts of it in the processing of table salt. Once this was done, the obvious symptoms of severe iodine deficiency disappeared from view, and little further thought was given to matter, though sub-clinical symptoms remained. Today's health conscious consumers have lowered their salt intake and now fail to get even that small amount of iodine in their diets. Many people have replaced processed iodized salt with sea salt, an obvious healthy alternative, except that sea salt does not naturally contain a significant amount of iodine.

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