Human beings have been searching for the elixir of eternal youth almost since we were aware of death itself. In the 4th century BC, Herodotus already spoke of a mythical ‘source of youth’ that the king of Ethiopia taught to the ambassadors of the king of Persia. Almost 2,000 years later, Ponce de León set out to seek the “miracle source” on a journey that led him to discover Florida and, paradoxically, die in the attempt.
Today, as we are less given to jungle travel, those seeking immortality do so in laboratories, hospitals, and start-ups. They even though so, many other research groups have been trying for years to find the limits of that human longevity.
Nature Communications now publishes another study that argues that this limit is likely to be around age 150.
Discover the limits to overcome them
What is getting old? What Singapore Gero has done is analyze how the human body recovers from disease, accidents, or anything else that puts pressure on its biological systems. They collected health data from more than half a million people in the US, UK, and Russia; and studied the stress-related blood markers.
What they found is that, indeed, recovery from stressful events lengthened as people got older. According to his data, on average, an 80-year-old needs three times more time to recover from stress than a 40-year-old.
How long can we live? In this, unlike other occasions, researchers are more modest and talk about probabilities. Extrapolating their data, the people of Singapore Gero have found that the human body’s resilience would fall below what was feasible between the age of 120 and 150. At some point in that fork, the human body would lose all the ability to recover from any potential stressors.
What does this entail? In recent years, we have managed for the first time to take steps in the reversal of biological age. And these kinds of models help us draw a map for a territory (that of longevity) in which we begin to enter.