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How Long Is The Potential Human Life Span? Here's A PhD's Take

Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor By Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career.
Is The Human Life Span Limitless? A Longevity PhD's Take + Healthy Aging Tips
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If you've ever wondered how long you could possibly live, you're not alone. In fact, scientists are actively working to uncover that answer themselves, but at the moment, the record goes to Jeanne Calment who lived to be 122 years old. So what are the odds that you make it to 120 years and beyond, and how can you increase your chances of a long and healthy life? Longevity expert Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., breaks it down in a new YouTube video on her channel.

What is the longest a human could live?

While there are generally three schools of thought around this topic, it's interesting to explore the idea that our life spans could be unlimited if we care for our bodies in a certain way. At the moment, there's limited data to depict the likelihood of living past the age of 110, but one study has found that your chance of death actually plateaus at that age. Patrick explains the researchers used "extreme value theory," which is a field of statistics focused on predicting incredibly rare events. According to the research, while your chances of dying (obviously) increase with age, they level out at 110, and your odds of living to the next year lands at about 47%. She likens this to flipping a coin.  

"In the other study, researchers investigated whether people will likely surpass 120 years of age (the current records), or even older, in the next century," Patrick explains in her newsletter. "Their findings suggested that the current records will likely be broken in the next 80 years or so, but it's unlikely that anyone will live beyond 135 years."

Interestingly, in 110- to 115-year-olds, there were no statistically significant differences in sex, genetics, diet, and general lifestyle. Of course, the sample size of these findings is quite small (566 life spans were studied and only nine lived to the age of 115), so only time will really tell if we can continue to increase the average age

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How to reach a healthy old age.

It's only natural to want to increase the length and quality of your life (just look at biohacker Dave Asprey, who plans to live to 180!), and fortunately, there are a number of actionable steps you can take. Patrick explains that making an effort to optimize inflammatory response and lifestyle factors that support metabolic health are some of the best ways to increase your health span, and thus, life span.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet and creating a balanced lifestyle are essential: "Robust evidence indicates that exercise, sauna use, cold exposure, eating plenty of polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables, and many other lifestyle factors slow aspects of aging," she notes.

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The takeaway.

Living a long and healthy life is a wonderful goal to have. Although research is still limited regarding just how long we can realistically expect to live, there are a number of actionable, science-backed habits that can help support your body through the years. Whether you're 18 or 78, making your health and well-being a priority is paramount.

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