2

votes

libido and brain boost overseas

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 02, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Are there any men here who have experienced profound improvements in mental clarity, libido, and general health when travelling outside the USA?

My husband finds the following to be consistently true:

  • USA w/ crap diet - poor health
  • USA w/ paleo diet - OK-to-good health
  • Finland w/ crap diet - excellent health

His bloating disappears, his problem solving skills soar, and his libido goes from 1-2/week to 4-6/day! The change happens within a week of travelling back to his home country. Quite often his trips are emotionally/mentally stressful, so I don't believe there is a psychological component.

One theory is the fluoride that they DON'T put in the water. Fluoride aggravates the thyroid, something he does have problems with and which could explain all the symptoms. Unfortunately filtering out the fluoride in our water, avoiding fluoride toothpastes, and avoiding foods known to be high in fluoride (california wines, deboned chicken, etc) has not yet produced the same profound shift. It is possible we're still getting a source of it from somewhere, though. Damnably pernicious stuff.

Another theory is that the sauna's are just that awesome. :) We haven't been able to test this in the US, due to lack of access to a sauna.

Edit:

These are the changes to his lifestyle/diet that happened in finland. I've marked with a * those that he's done in the states without a beneficial effect.

  • *more frequent meals (we currently IF, with one meal a day in evenings)
  • *grains and starches and sugar added back into his diet, so as not to refuse his mom's cooking. Finnish breads, fwiw, are much more about rye than wheat, but he did also eat wheat in the form of pastries
  • daily steam sauna
  • dealing with his parents :P

No changes in activity level, alcohol, or sleep, other than the usual jet lag.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:09 AM

Korvatunturi is for sure, that's where Santa's workshop is.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 02, 2012
at 10:46 PM

...Another thought: Does he take stimulants to deal with jet lag? All of those things are quite common with amphetamine use.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 02, 2012
at 09:31 PM

The clarity, and upped libido are both natural responses extra stress hormones both negative (family/work/jet lag) and positive (being somewhere that excites you). I wonder if the feeling would taper off if the trips lasted for an extended period of time?

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Y'know, our leading theory at the moment, in absence of a better one, is that Finland is just a Magic Land.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:47 AM

Could be something to it. Finnish men have one of the highest sperm counts in the world, although it's declining http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12634109 I'm Finnish *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:45 AM

Finnish men have found to have the best quality sperm in the world, so there's probably something to it. Disclaimer: I'm Finnish.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:43 AM

A female friend of mine gained quite a bit of weight when she was in Canada for a few months. On the other hand, quite a few of my female Chinese friends gain weight when they moved to Europe.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:40 AM

Finnish men have found to have the best quality sperm in the world, so there's probably something to it.

800547661e2d20d03f5a313d86eb6102

(155)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:06 AM

I can comment on the libido part of this... We travelers call it the 150 mile rule. You've seen the Las Vegas commercials. What happens in Vegas.... LOL Just kidding.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:42 AM

That's funny, I have a friend from the US who studied in Germany, and she experienced the same thing, but going from US-Germany. In Germany, she gained a good 10-15 lbs, even though she thought she was eating better. I can see how putting yourself "out of your comfort zone" of health and normality could probably produce this effect almost regardless of the move. I even had a friend who worked in Africa for a year, and she gained about 10 lbs, and was eating way, way less volume.

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:39 AM

Aye, we're still pondering the stress issue :) On one hand, he REALLY likes Finnish culture more than where we currently live. I think he feels more in his element. On the other hand, he was in a really stressful and uncomfortable living situation with his family, who he does not get along well with. So if it's a stress-related reaction, it's hard to parse.

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:34 AM

Indeed! Most of the people I know from Europe (though not UK, oddly) say the same thing. I assumed that eating a paleo diet in the USA would protect us from the "USA 15", but I am not sure anymore. I'm fairly sure Germany doesn't fluoridate water either. We really need to spend a few weeks in a completely non-fluoridated city in the USA...that would give us a better comparison, imho.

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:30 AM

Fair enough :) Updated above

Medium avatar

(39821)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:05 AM

I think it'd be interesting if you listed the differences in diet and lifestyle that occur when he's in Finland.

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4 Answers

1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:55 AM

I think these things just happen when you are traveling- sometimes it invigorates you and makes you feel amazing, other times it is a drag and brings you down. Very female-specific, but recently a friend and I noticed that neither of us have had our period in a different country- it doesn't matter where the country, what the duration was, or anything, it is just enough of a change that I guess our body does not want to get pregnant while all these weird traveling shenanigans are going on. I don't think that's a particularly common thing (when I brought it up with other girlfriends, they had no idea what I was talking about) but it does seem to illustrate how just being in a different place can produce real, physiological changes. It isn't the food, the water, or anything, more the complete change of pace and mental space.

I gained 10 lbs traveling around France, lost 5 lbs driving across Canada (not doing a thing), lost 10 lbs in Hawaii (that might have more been the surfing), and gained 5-10 lbs roadripping around the Canada-US border for 2 months. I think it really depends what your doing, what your mental state is, and how you feel about your situation.

0
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:49 AM

Environmental factors could have something to do with it. Finnish men have one of the highest sperm counts in the world, although it's declining. I'm Finnish wink wink nudge nudge

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Y'know, our leading theory at the moment, in absence of a better one, is that Finland is just a Magic Land.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:09 AM

Korvatunturi is for sure, that's where Santa's workshop is.

0
D5dff6376e17373751ccf4a10aaa0b34

(274)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:31 AM

I have travelled all over the world, and have had symptoms mysteriously go away (heartburn, the spins, queasiness) when outside the US. I have since moved overseas and had symptoms come back and in some cases get worse. I think that when I travel, even if it's a familiar country, my body goes into a survival mode, it knows to hold off on bodily stuff. It's kind of like when you are arriving home from a road trip and all of the sudden you have to pee like crazy when you are three blocks from the home. Your non-executive brain bits are always at work assessing your surroundings and keeping bodily needs at bay (as much as possible) until you have shelter, food, safety, etc taken care of. Once you become comfortable you go back to a mode where you can focus on more subtle things. That's been my experience for the past 10 years or so of heavy duty travel (asia, africa, europe, na).

My heartburn (nexium daily until paleo) went away both times i traveled to india, i was totally convinced it was something in the diet. In fact it took weeks for it to come back after arriving home, but sure enough it did. Then i went to other places with the same pattern, including UK, Ireland, which don't have very different food from the US.

If could also be the opposite (in a way), maybe the US stresses him out and Finland relaxes him. Don't discount the power of stress!

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:39 AM

Aye, we're still pondering the stress issue :) On one hand, he REALLY likes Finnish culture more than where we currently live. I think he feels more in his element. On the other hand, he was in a really stressful and uncomfortable living situation with his family, who he does not get along well with. So if it's a stress-related reaction, it's hard to parse.

0
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 02, 2012
at 12:57 AM

I can't speak to men on this, but I have a dear friend from German who studied abroad in the States for 2 years (separated by the summer) and she said that she immediately gained 15 lbs within the first month of being in the States, even though she ate healthy foods, and then lost the weight super fast when she returned to Germany each time. This has also happened on subsequent long visits. There isn't the same sauna culture (that I know of) but I am curious what the causes are. And she ate whatever she wanted in Germany, she only felt like she had to diet here because of the weight gain.

Ad03fe0b120dd94ad9bbba5ee8158913

(10)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:34 AM

Indeed! Most of the people I know from Europe (though not UK, oddly) say the same thing. I assumed that eating a paleo diet in the USA would protect us from the "USA 15", but I am not sure anymore. I'm fairly sure Germany doesn't fluoridate water either. We really need to spend a few weeks in a completely non-fluoridated city in the USA...that would give us a better comparison, imho.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:43 AM

A female friend of mine gained quite a bit of weight when she was in Canada for a few months. On the other hand, quite a few of my female Chinese friends gain weight when they moved to Europe.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:42 AM

That's funny, I have a friend from the US who studied in Germany, and she experienced the same thing, but going from US-Germany. In Germany, she gained a good 10-15 lbs, even though she thought she was eating better. I can see how putting yourself "out of your comfort zone" of health and normality could probably produce this effect almost regardless of the move. I even had a friend who worked in Africa for a year, and she gained about 10 lbs, and was eating way, way less volume.

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