Elixir of Life

The elixir of life is medicine, potion, substance, or anything that supposedly grand the users’ state of immortality, eternal youth, or eternal life when consumed. The Alchemists in different cultures and ages tried various ways to formulate the elixir. The modern idea of the elixir of life possibly originated in ancient China and independently in Mesopotamia and Japan, Asia, and Near East before Europe by millennia (Tomczyk et al. 2015). Today, scientists are still grappling with the idea of achieving immortality. However, I do not believe the Elixir of Life existsand that humans will ever achieve immortality at any point in time.

Elixir of Life or immortality is unachievable because of the ageing problem and associated changes humans undergo during the process. Ageing is not just a single problem but a cluster of problems. Many irreversible biological processes accompany ageing. Such include wearing out of the kidney, liver, heart, muscles, and nervous systems, which break down differently (Martínez & Bridge, 2012). To achieve biologically immortal humans, scientists or whoever is bothered with Elixir of Life must figure out how to prevent all these clusters of problems. I believe that humans are still very far from achieving that, at least for now.

Researchers have discovered that a group of animals such as Hydra has already solved the problem of ageing, which is still a nightmare for humans. Hydra is invertebrates with a unique approach to ageing. Their body comprises stem cells that continually divide to form new cells while the older cells get discarded. The continuous generation of new cells makes Hydra nearly immortal as they can rejuvenate themselves, staying forever young (Tomczyk et al. 2015). That points out that immortality may be possible in some animals. However, Daniel Martínez, a biologist and a professor of biology at Pomona College, California, who is also the scientist behind the discovery of Hydra’s lack of ageing, argued that immortality is impossible for humans to achieve because human bodies are extremely complex. Like Hydra, human bodies also comprise stem cells that can multiply, repair, restore, and regrow various body organs, including the liver. However, human bodies are not made wholly of stem cells like the hydras (Martínez & Bridge, 2012).


The researcher argues that, unlike Hydra, humans require cells to accomplish several tasks rather than just dividing and forming new ones. Human cells commit to different body functions that make them lose their ability to divide. For instance, red blood cells help with transporting oxygen around our bodies. Because human cells work, they also age, and so do we. Humans cannot simply discard the old cells as the hydras because they need them for different functions. For example, brain neurons transmit information. We would not wish such cells to be replaced because we may not remember anything (Martínez & Bridge, 2012). Studies with people like Jeanne Calment, a France national who died at the age of 127 years in 1997 and entered the Guinness World Record as the oldest human to ever lived, have contended that humans can live to a maximum of between 120 and 150 years beyond which the body loses the resilience to recover from injury and illness (Labat-Robert & Robert, 2015). Besides, even if researchers find a way to stop ageing to some extent, immortality is unattainable fully achieved because humans are also prone to other things like fatal accidents and extreme climates that can claim life.

I suggest that research such as Hydra could inspire studies to make humans live healthier and longer, such as discovering how human cells can operate well as they age but not stop to death as it may not be possible. Humans will not attain biological immortality. Hence, the Elixir of Life does not exist.


Labat-Robert, J., & Robert, L. (2015). Longevity and ageing. Mechanisms and perspectives. Pathologie Biologie63(6), 272-276.

Martínez, D. E., & Bridge, D. (2012). Hydra, the everlasting embryo, confronts ageing. International Journal of Developmental Biology56(6-7-8), 479-487. Tomczyk, S., Fischer, K., Austad, S. and Galliot, B., 2015. Hydra is a powerful model for ageing studies. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development59(su