The Absolute Limit of Human Life Span

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A study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that the human body has a maximum life span of 150 years.

Over the last century, the human life span has significantly increased. This is mostly due to the advancements in health care and improvement in education. Moreover, researchers have discovered multiple factors that can lengthen one’s life. But alas, no amount of science can help you live forever. So, what’s the longest the human body can survive?

According to researchers, humans can survive for 120 to 150 years of age, but no longer than that. Thus, claiming the absolute limit of human life span as 150 years.

The authors of the study based their prediction on a single variable, the dynamic organism state indicator (DOSI). DOSI is derived from blood biomarkers of aging: ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes and variability in the size of red blood cells. Both these biomarkers increase in the blood with age. Therefore, DOSI is considered a measure of resilience; predicting the body’s ability to overcome injuries and infections.

To measure the maximum life span, the team analyzed data of over 500,000 people from across UK, Russia, and the US. The data included values for complete blood count (CBC), done multiple times over a few months, of all the individuals. Moreover, the dataset contained three different age groups: aged between 40 to 90 years. Along with assessing the variations in blood biomarkers, they also analyzed the daily number of steps for the individuals.

What Happens After 150?

Using mathematical modelling, the team determined DOSI for each person. They then plotted the values over an aging trajectory to extrapolate the maximum life span.

Individuals without any comorbids were more resilient to stresses with lower DOSI, while those with chronic diseases had elevated DOSI and a higher mortality rate. Moreover, results revealed that at 120-150 years of age humans lose their resilience, that is their ability to recover. Despite not suffering from any comorbids.

This work indicates that the apparent human lifespan limit is not likely to be improved by therapies aimed against specific chronic diseases or frailty syndrome. Thus, no dramatic improvement of the maximum lifespan and hence strong life extension is possible by preventing or curing diseases without interception of the ageing process, the root cause of the underlying loss of resilience

study authors

Additionally, they compared an individual’s rate of recovery to the data on physical activity. As predicted, the number of daily steps decreased with age and so did the recovery time. Thus, the study reveals the importance of resilience in determining our biological age.

Reference:

Pyrkov, T.V., Avchaciov, K., Tarkhov, A.E. et al. Longitudinal analysis of blood markers reveals progressive loss of resilience and predicts human lifespan limit. Nat Commun 12, 2765 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23014-1

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