A new study from researchers in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Inha University Incheon in Korea may have some men squirming in their pants. The study confirms that the results of previous animal studies are also applicable to humans: Castrated men live longer than men who remain intact.
Castration is a process whereby the source of male sex hormones, the testicles, is removed. In male animals, castration is known as neutering. We might tell Fido that he will live longer because he is neutered, but are human men willing to undergo the same medical procedure to prolong their lives?
The current study suggests that men might want to consider the option.
To examine the effects of castration on life span in human men, the researchers analyzed the longevity of historical Korean eunuchs. A eunuch is a male who was castrated, typically at an early age before his sex hormones had a chance to affect changes in his body.
During the Chosun Dynasty in Korean between 1392 to 1910, castrated men worked as servants in the royal palace. By examining the genealogy records of these Korean eunuchs, the researchers in the present study were able to determine the lifespan of 81 of the castrated men. Interestingly, the castrated men lived 14.4 to 19.1 years longer than non-castrated men of comparable socioeconomic status. Even more surprisingly, the Korean monarchs lived an average of 47 years compared to the 70 years lived by the average castrated male servant.
Researchers believe that the hormone testosterone plays a significant role in the lifespan of men. Castrated men have significantly lower levels of testosterone. Women, too, who tend to live longer than men, also have lower levels of the hormone.
Further research needs to be conducted to determine the role of testosterone on longevity.
In the meanwhile, men can rest assured that the medical community is not actually recommending castration as a means to a longer life.