It’s been called the most important antioxidant that’s made within the body for a reason. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) plays a major role in fighting free radical damage and inflammation.
In fact, this powerful enzyme forms the front line of defense against reactive oxygen species that lead to cellular damage within the body.
Researchers have found an association between superoxide dismutase deficiency and a number of pathologies in both humans and animals.
Because we naturally experience decreased antioxidant enzyme levels as we age, using SOD supplements may be beneficial for conditions like chronic inflammation, neurodegenerative disease and hypertension.
What is Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) & How Does it Help?
Super Dismutase, also called SOD, is an oxygen reactive enzyme found within every cell in our bodies. The main purpose of SOD is to break down and neutralize superoxide radicals. Superoxide radicals are a type of free-radical, which is a term many of us are more familiar with.
Superoxide radicals are a natural byproduct of oxygen metabolism, and they play a significant role in the development of cellular damage. Many health conditions, from inflammation to autoimmune disease and cancer, all start with damage at the cellular level. So, it’s important to take steps to combat cellular damage by superoxide radicals whenever possible. This is where Superoxide Dismutase enters the picture.
Eliminate Dangerous, Health Damaging Toxins from Your Body. Some of the most dangerous things our bodies encounter is practically an endless list of toxins from our environment.
Toxins are found in the air we breathe outdoors, in our homes, or workspaces, the products we use every day, and sometimes even in the food we eat.
Fortunately, our bodies have a natural defense system of toxin fighting molecules in place, with Superoxide Dismutase being one of the most powerful in the arsenal.
Why You Need Superoxide Dismutase: Defend Against Cellular Damage & Oxidative Stress
Superoxide Dismutase is a crucial element of our body’s defense system against cellular damage. It’s needed to fight and neutralize superoxide radicals that cause DNA mutations. Our bodies are decently sufficient at producing Superoxide Dismutase on their own, but we’re also living in a time when we often encounter more toxins than our bodies can handle without some additional support. There is plenty of research backing the importance of antioxidants in general, but SOD on its own is gaining recognition for its role in disease prevention. Here are just a few of the scientifically backed health benefits of Superoxide Dismutase.
There are natural dietary sources of SOD, including cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and peas. While you want to enjoy as much plant based nutrition as possible, sometimes it’s difficult to increase your levels of Superoxide Dismutase through dietary approaches alone, especially if you have difficulty digesting certain types of vegetables.
Superoxide dismutase is an antioxidant enzyme that’s found in all living cells within the body.
What is superoxide dismutase used for?
The enzyme works to speed up chemical reactions in the body, and it plays a critical role in reducing oxidative stress that’s associated with the formation of many life-threatening diseases.
Superoxide dismutase forms can be categorized into four groups, including copper-zinc-SOD, iron SOD, manganese superoxide dismutase and nickel SOD. These forms of the antioxidant enzyme are distributed throughout the body in different subcellular compartments.
Superoxide dismutase function depends on the form and its ability to absorb properly in the body. What are known as SOD1 and SOD2 are found in humans and other mammals, while SOD can also be found in plants.
The enzymes catalyze the conversion of superoxide, which is a reactive oxygen species that’s produced during aerobic respiration, the chemical reaction that transfers energy to our cells.
1. Reduces Oxidative Stress
When antioxidant levels in the body are lower than those of free radicals, we face major health concerns. This can happen as a result of poor diet, ingesting too many toxins and aging.
We actually need free radicals for proper immune function. They are naturally produced as byproducts of cellular reactions, breathing oxygen and metabolizing foods and produced by the liver for detoxification and to destroy damaged cells, bacteria and viruses.
The problem with free radicals is that they are constantly looking to “react” with cells in order to steal one of their electrons. This makes cells that were well-functioning before now in need of a missing electron, which creates a chain reaction within the body and the production of even more free radicals.
In the end, an abundance of electron-hungry free radicals can destroy healthy cells and tissues, harming and aging the body over time.
This is often referred to as “oxidative stress,” and it occurs when the balance of antioxidants and free radicals in the body is disturbed. When antioxidant levels become too low, free radical levels increase and cause harm.
Research shows that superoxide dismutases play an important role in the antioxidant defense against oxidative stress in the body.
What does SOD do in the body?
According to the International Journal of Health Sciences, the enzyme can be used as a pharmaceutical in treating various diseases that result from oxidative stress. SOD is known as an antioxidant-based mimetic that may be the future of oxidative stress targeted therapies in chemoprevention, according to researchers.
2. Reduces Inflammation
The superoxide dismutase enzyme serves as an anti-inflammatory agent. Superoxide dismutase research shows encouraging results for its use as a human therapeutic agent in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, including burn and wound injuries.
When SOD levels were measured in patients with chronic inflammation, their enzyme activity was significantly lower when compared to healthy individuals. Researchers suggest new therapeutic possibilities that target superoxide dismutase antioxidant pathways so that pro-inflammatory responses can be limited.
3. Relieves Arthritis Symptoms
An animal study conducted in the U.K. found that a reduction in SOD levels is associated with the earliest stages of osteoarthritis. The enzyme has shown to be down-regulated in osteoarthritis cartilage in both human and mouse models.
This may be due to elevated oxidative stress with decreased SOD levels, according to researchers.
Other studies have shown that the antioxidant benefits of SOD and vitamin E have an anti-inflammatory role in experimentally induced arthritis.
4. Helps Fight Cancer
Recent research shows that there’s a significant association of low extracellular superoxide dismutase expression with reduced cancer patient survival. This suggests that low SOD levels promote an internal environment that favors cancer progression.
A study published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine indicates that high levels of SOD inhibit tumor growth and metastasis, indicating its role as a tumor suppressor.
A study published in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling suggests that dietary supplement-based superoxide dismutase for cancer prevention provides another opportunity for antioxidant-based cancer prevention. According to researchers, “new mechanistic studies have revealed that SOD inhibits not only oncogenic activity, but also subsequent metabolic shifts during early tumorigenesis.”
5. Boosts Skin Health
Superoxide dismutase creams and other personal care products are used to reduce free radical damage to the skin and lower signs of aging. SOD’s antioxidant effects boost the health and appearance of your skin, and it is often used to prevent wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
Superoxide dismutase for skin care is also known to help wound healing, soften scar tissue and protect skin against UV rays.
6. Anti-Aging Benefit: Cellular damage by free radicals is what causes our bodies to age. SOD may not be the fountain of youth, but it is a key player in reducing cellular oxidative stress that leads to premature aging on many levels. 7. Vascular Disease, Including Ischemic Heart Disease: SOD has been shown to be beneficial in preventing oxidative stress that leads to endothelial and ischemic tissue damage. In less scientific words, SOD is super important for heart health. 8. Inflammatory Conditions: SOD inhibits the biological pathway that leads to inflammation. This can help in treating chronic inflammation, and health conditions caused by it. Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, heart disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, and diabetes all fall under the category of inflammatory health conditions. 9. Neurodegenerative Diseases: Information from research points to a decreased amount of SOD in individuals who are diagnosed with certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. This ties in with how diet, particularly the difference between the standard American diet, and dietary lifestyles like the Mediterranean diet, is showing an impact on cognitive health and decline. Consuming a diet that’s rich in antioxidant foods, and supplementing when necessary, is important for long-term neurological health.
Diets high in vegetables and fruits, which are good sources of antioxidants, have been found to be healthy. Traditional antioxidants such as selenium, carotenoids, and Vitamins E and C are safer products. However, research has not shown these antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases. The reasons may be: The effects of the large doses of antioxidants used in supplementation studies may be different from those of the smaller amounts of antioxidants consumed in foods. Differences in the chemical composition of antioxidants in foods versus those in supplements may influence their effects. For some diseases, specific antioxidants might be more effective than the ones that have been tested.
Current research reveals the potential therapeutic applications of SOD in the prevention/control of various diseases. Future approaches in this field are expected to include gene therapy to produce more antioxidants in the body, increasing the level of antioxidants in plant products by genetic modifications, synthetic antioxidant enzymes (SOD mimetics). Among the most critical antioxidants that ameliorate the effects of oxidative stress within cells are enzymes such as the SODs. Due to their importance, the SODs have received much attention in efforts to minimize oxygen radical-induced damage to normal tissues. Since the administration of exogenous SODs themselves has often proven to be problematic, a variety of innovative approaches are currently being explored in conjunction with radiotherapy. Among these are SOD mimetics, the future holds great promise for the development of superior products that will serve to ameliorate the damaging effects of radiation on normal cells and tissues.
SOD can be used as a pharmaceutical in treating various diseases resulting from oxidative stress. SOD conjugates and mimetics have improved performance and overcome some of the limitations of the free enzyme. Antioxidant-based mimetics may potentially be the future of oxidative stress targeted therapies in chemoprevention. It is important that future research on the potential use of SOD or its conjugates and mimetics in the treatment of oxidative stress-related diseases should focus on patient-oriented outcomes.
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