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Is There a Limit to Human Lifespan?

Joyful elderly family talking to each other

 A good place to start this exploration is with a quote from a character in the League of Legends, called Master Yi. His answer to the question of longevity was, “The key to immortality is not dying.”

 The person who followed Master Yi’s advice the longest was Jeanne Calment, who is the longest living human, whose birth and death was verified. She lived for 122 years between 1875 and 1997.

     Cases of exceptionally long life prompt the question of Is there a limit to human lifespan?

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 The progress in lengthening life is due to medical progress, public health efforts, our increasing standard of living, improvements in education, and healthier nutrition.

 However, being born in certain places can give you a greater chance of a long-life than those born elsewhere.

     Where Do People Live Longest Historically.

 The global life expectancy is currently 71.4 years. However, there are a number of places around the world that seem to give you a greater chance of surviving longer.


 In Sardinia, families are very closely knit, and the diet is mostly based on vegetables. The people also have a higher level of daily activity than in many more industrialized places. The result is that Sardinians males have the highest proportion of males over 100 in the world. Another factor from the statistics in Sardinia is that men with daughters will live longer than men without. Apparently having a daughter, to give you additional care in your later years, is a significant factor.

     Okinawa, Japan.

 A common element in many areas with the greatest longevity is “family and the local community. “Okinawans” have something called “Moai” which is a small, but very close social grouping that supplies constant social support throughout an individual’s life. This reduces stress and supports the individual in healthy behaviors through peer pressure. Women in Okinawa have the longest living women in the world.

     Nicoya, Costa Rica.

 A common factor in areas where longevity is prevalent is the avoidance of processed foods. In Nicoya, the diet is comprised of mostly Beans, Corn, and Squash. Supplemented by tropical fruits. This diet is high in nutrients and, added to a lot of fresh air, produces strong bodies. Nicovans practice something called a “plan de Vida” or in English “A Guiding Life’s Purpose”, which provides fulfillment. Nicovans frequently live to 90 and older.

Long-lived family couple cuddling

     Looking at Life Expectancy Today.

 The United Nations report on World Population prospects gives figures for countries around the world and ranks them according to the life expectancy of children born in 2015.

The top ten ranked countries are:

Rank – Country – Overall – Male – Female

1 – Japan – 83 – 80 – 86

2 – Italy – 83 – 81 – 85

3 – Switzerland – 82.5 – 80 – 85

4 – Singapore – 82 – 80 – 84

5 – Israel – 82 – 79 – 85

6 – Iceland – 81.5 – 80 – 83

7 – Spain – 82 – 79 – 85

8 – Australia – 83 – 80 – 86

9 – Hong Kong- 81.5 – 80 – 83

10 – Sweden – 81.5 – 80 – 83

 Global Lifespan currently sits at 71.4 years, so looking at these top ten countries, we will understand that there are some countries in the world that will have substantially lower life spans.

Example Western Countries:

Rank – Country – Overall – Male – Female

11 – France – 81 – 78 – 84

12 – Canada – 81 – 79 – 83

28 – United Kingdom – 80 – 78 – 82

43 – United States – 78.5 – 76 – 81

The bottom five ranked countries are:

Rank – Country – Overall – Male – Female

197 – Cote d’Ivoire – 50.5 – 50 – 51

198 – Sierra Leone – 49.5 – 49 – 50

199 – Central African Republic – 49 – 47 – 51

200 – Lesotho – 49.5 – 49 – 50

201 – Eswatini (Swaziland) – 47 – 46 – 48

     Extending Lifespan.

 Many people have a dream of extending the lifespan of humans. They believe that small changes can be made by medicine. Many also believe that there may be other, more dramatic changes possible which will extend our maximum lifespan way beyond its current 125 years. These possibilities do not exist at the moment, although there are many studies currently taking place.

 With global lifespan being 71.4 years. Records started in 1960 when it was 52.5 years, so it is clear in recent decades there have been massive increases. There was optimism that this would continue.

 In fact, in 2018 the UK Office of National Statistics announced that the annual increases in lifespan that we had enjoyed had stopped. Life expectancy had stopped rising. Statistics from around the world tend to suggest that this might be the same around the world, and that medicine has gone as far as it can to increase lifespan.

 Our topic is – Is there a limit to human lifespan? It seems that our traditional medicine has now gone as far as it can to increase that limit. Further, progress will probably require new therapies and solutions.

Grandfather and granddaughter look into the distance on a sunny and frosty day

     Genetic Factors.

 Previously the medical community had worked on the premise that the different rates and ways in which we age were a consequence of cell damage that has taken place over the years because of our lifestyle.

 Recent research in Germany and Sweden has challenged that opinion and suggests that it is probably damaged DNA in the Mitochondria that is responsible for aging. The Mitochondria only has maternal cells. Previously damage in these cells was blamed on everyday life, but it has now been found that some faulty DNA from the mother might be causing the cell energy production from the Mitochondria to be shutting down and that this is causing more rapid aging.

 This research is still at a very early stage has involved testing on mice, but now human research needs to be carried out as the next stage. With rapid improvements in gene therapy taking place elsewhere, it may well be that this may be a new approach to anti-aging/increased longevity.

 So, Is there a limit to human lifespan? Well, although lifespan looks to be plateauing at the moment after recent increases. There are many new research products taking place around the world that may result in a new approach to the subject and lead to further increases.

 We hope that you have found this article informative and that it may prompt you to look at your lifestyle and adopt some dietary changes that may increase your individual lifespan.

     We Wish You a Long Life!

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