Guzmán, 62, was found guilty of 10 charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, by a federal court in New York in February.
He escaped a Mexican jail through a tunnel in 2015, but was later arrested. He was extradited to the US in 2017.
He is a former head of the Sinaloa cartel, which officials say was the biggest supplier of drugs to the US.
Speaking through an interpreter just before Wednesday’s sentencing, Guzmán said in the Brooklyn courtroom his confinement in the US had amounted to “torture” and said he had received an unfair trial.
The life sentence was the minimum Guzmán faced. The additional 30 years were for unlawful uses of firearms. He was also ordered to pay $12.6bn (£10bn) in forfeiture.
Prosecutors said Guzmán would be serving his sentence behind “tonnes of steel”, referring to a high-security prison in Colorado.
Guzmán’s lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman announced plans to appeal against the verdict.
He argued that the trial had not been conducted fairly and claimed that jurors were influenced by media coverage.
“It was a show trial,” he said.