How Long Can A Person Go Without Oxygen (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up To Six Minutes

Oxygen is a chemical element with atomic number eight. The symbol for oxygen is O, and it belongs to the chalcogens family. It is nonmetal and highly reactive and is also known to form many oxides with multiple elements as it is a powerful oxidizing agent. Oxygen was first discovered in late 1773.

However, Oxygen in the air is present in a diatomic gas where two oxygen atoms are bonded through covalent bonds. Oxygen is also present in high percentages in water. Also, Oxygen is the third most abundant of all elements in the universe. Dioxygen is odorless and colorless in nature. It is also used in respiration.

How Long Can A Person Go Without Oxygen?

Oxygen in the form of diatomic gas constitutes approximately twenty-one percent of the entire earth’s atmosphere. It is also known to make up fifty percent of the earth’s crust, present mainly in oxides. Dioxygen is responsible for providing energy released during combustion and cellular respiration. Most of the organic molecules present inside living organisms contain oxygen, such as carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and fats. Not only this, but oxygen also constitutes inorganic compounds in various animal shells, bones, and teeth.

Oxygen present in water is responsible for constituting effective forms of life. Plants are responsible for providing a constant supply of oxygen to the Earth’s atmosphere. Plants do photosynthesis which produces oxygen from carbon dioxide and water with the use of sunlight. Oxygen is most commonly used in the production of plastics, steel, and textiles. It is also widely used as a life support system in submarines, diving, spaceflight, and aircraft. Oxygen is also used as a fuel in rocket propellants.

Body PartMaximum Time Without OxygenConsequences Due To Loss Of Oxygen
BrainThree to four minutesPermanent Brain Damage
LungsFive to six minutesDeath

Inadequate supply of oxygen to various organs of the body has severe consequences and can prove deadly. When no oxygen is supplied to a human brain for around three to four minutes, it has been observed that it results in permanent brain damage. In comparison, lungs responsible for carrying all the respiratory processes will not function after a shortage of oxygen for up to six minutes.

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Why Can A Person Go Without Oxygen For So Long?

The body requires oxygen to regulate blood flow and is also crucial for the heart’s proper working. It also stimulates brain activity and is also responsible for boosting the memory capacity of an individual. Another vital benefit of oxygen is that it increases concentration and helps develop alertness to various stimuli. Higher oxygen levels also build endurance and increase the strength of a person. It is also responsible for raising the body’s energy levels and is also helpful in detoxing the blood.

However, certain conditions can lead to the reduction of oxygen levels in an individual’s bloodstream. Some states are traveling to higher elevations, intaking polluted air, and inhaling stale air that consists of less than twenty percent of oxygen. Insufficient oxygen results in lower levels of biological energy, leading to mild fatigue and can cause death. Oxygen is also responsible for reducing anxiety levels.

Oxygen helps an individual fight sleep and anger issues. It is also responsible for preventing the buildup of lactic acid in the body. Oxygen renews the energy of the body and gives a feeling of relaxation. It also helps in increasing the body’s ability to burn fat which ensures enhanced physical performance. Oxygen also helps in developing resistance against various diseases, bacteria, and viruses. Oxygen therapies are also done to know the importance of oxygen.


Overall, it can be concluded that oxygen is one of the most fundamental constituents of the human body. Oxygen is present in the form of oxides in different parts of the earth. Many molecules also comprise oxygen, and it is also present in various organic and inorganic compounds. Plants are responsible for increasing the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

On average, a human being won’t survive without oxygen for more than six minutes. It is advised to visit a medical practitioner if a person is facing any breathing issues. Oxygen also helps in fighting various diseases and is responsible for enhancing the performance of an individual.


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