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Palo Alto, CA — A 4-year study conducted by the Palo Alto-based Rundex Family Foundation has discovered a link between iodized salt use and male erectile dysfunction. The study, sponsored by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK NYSE) via its philanthropy arm, the Kansas-based The Center for Longevity Institute in Topeka  (CLIT), surveyed over  32,767 participants via telephone, mail-in forms, and several walk-in interviews in the CLIT’s regional offices around the United States.

“Well, the data doesn’t lie,” said Rundex lead researcher Robert Colvin from his Mountain View, CA home office via Skype. “A full 53.6% of men who reported erectile dysfunction issues also included iodized salt in their diets vs. the control group that used non-iodized forms like Kosher salt. This is all with a standard deviation of 1.9. Controlling for error, the number drops to 46.7%, which is still an alarming number considering the standard deviation of 1.9.”

In the early 20th Century, the United States and other industrialized countries started adding iodine to table salt, the Morton Salt Company’s largest manufacturer. This led to an approximate 3.5% decrease in national iodine deficiencies. However, in any area of the world, natural iodine levels are present in the soil and absorbed by vegetables. Therefore, critics argue that this “natural” form of iodine is low enough not to cause any harmful effects. Moreover, the same critics say that ingesting iodized table salt led to harmful sodium and chloride levels in the human body, which has been linked to heart disease and complex and difficult bowel movements, but as this recent Rundex study has discovered, adverse health effects.

“We are, of course, alarmed by Rundex’s findings,” said GSK’s director of communication Bethany Millbright. “This research hits home here at GSK because we have had hundreds of our male workers suffering from erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, we have Viagra as a treatment, but many men around the county who have been impacted by what we’re calling iodine impairment do not have access to the medications that could help them. This is the first of several studies that GSK and CLIT are actively working in this area. We’re calling on the government for action.”

GSK's Bethany Millbright says the pharmaceutical giant will do everything it can to help.
GSK’s Bethany Millbright says the pharmaceutical giant will do everything it can to help.

Although the Rundex study doesn’t offer any causation factors, according to Mr. Colvin, there’s “heaps of correlative evidence” demonstrating that iodine might be the cause of male impotence.

“I generally don’t like to speculate without the hard data,” continued Mr. Colvin, “but there seems to be some connection with the thyroid [gland] and the overabundance of iodine. For years people were afraid of iodine-deficiency endemic goitres. Nasty things, to be honest. But it seems like with all things Americans, we over-did it. And now we have quite possibly millions of men that now have this condition.”

There are no specific recommendations from the report, although Gish Gallop has learned that all participants in the study have received a free year’s supply of Viagra.