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Anti-aging is just one of the incredible superoxide dismutase supplement benefits. Are you getting enough of this powerful antioxidant?
And here’s another one for you: superoxide dismutase. If you’ve never heard of it, you should familiarize yourself with the compound.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is perhaps the most important antioxidant your body makes. There’s a good reason why it’s called “the youth molecule” and many are taking a superoxide dismutase supplement like this one.
Glutathione is considered your internal master antioxidant. That’s because it helps recycle all your body’s internal antioxidants. But SOD is one of the most valuable singular internal antioxidants.
Let’s use the following symphonic analogy to distinguish between glutathione and superoxide dismutase:
Glutathione is the conductor. SOD is the #1 seat violin. Without SOD the harmonic detox orchestra would sound like a bloody mess!
Why is superoxide dismutase important?
Think of SOD as the kryptonite of free radicals. You may have heard of the term ‘free radicals’ and know they can be harmful for health, but why is that?
Well, like nearly everything in life, oxygen is a double-edged sword. Without oxygen, you’d be unable to breathe. You would drop dead without it. However, when your body uses up oxygen for energy, oxygen molecules become oxidized.
Think of a half-eaten apple left on the kitchen counter. What happens to it when exposed to air? It starts going bad. Same thing happens to oxygen molecules when they’re burned up for energy.
But this is normal. This is supposed to happen. The healthy foods you eat and the normal biological processes in your body help keep those oxidized molecules in check.
Your immune system is engaged in a life-long epic gym workout. It stays strong and active by destroying free radicals.
Or, at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen in a healthy person. But, of course, with poor diet, stress and environmental toxins, sometimes, the free radicals win. That’s when chronic disease can manifest.
So let’s get back to the original question … why is superoxide dismutase important?
In simple terms, SOD helps keep free radicals in check. Without enough circulating SOD, your immune system would likely fall prey to chronic disease.
When oxygen burns, this process is called reactive oxygen species (ROS).
SOD helps neutralize ROS. ROS is a fact of life. But if ROS become too prevalent in your body, your cells could become damaged.
The main benefit of superoxide dismutase is that it’s your body’s defense mechanism against ROD.
If you’re interested in learning about the superoxide dismutase mechanism, stay tuned. More on that later, as well as taking superoxide dismutase supplements….
Benefits of taking a superoxide dismutase
As the body’s main enzyme that neutralizes free radicals, especially superoxide—the body’s most abundant free radical—SOD offers us many benefits, including:
- Reduces cell damage
- Repairs cells
- Fights inflammation
The benefits of superoxide dismutase were not discovered until relatively recently (SOD itself wasn’t discovered until the mid-1960s).
SOD enzyme is dependant on zinc, copper, manganese and other minerals. Minerals are like spark plugs for your enzymes. Without minerals, vitamins and enzymes wouldn’t have the “fuel” to kickstart their important functions.
But even if you eat lots of organic veggies, you may be deficient in SOD. One reason could be poor modern soil quality. Compared to what it was decades ago, soil isn’t the same supernutrient growth lab like it was before man-made pollution denatured our food chain.
This is a big reason why even if you eat lots of organic veggies, you may want to consider supplementing with unprocessed sea salt, which is rich in trace minerals.
If you have enough SOD or take a superoxide dismutase supplement to kill free radicals, you may be able to prevent arthritis and other joint diseases. Even conditions like Parkinson’s disease has been shown to improve with increased SOD.
Superoxide dismutase foods vs supplements
So where can you get superoxide dismutase? Is it as simple as taking an superoxide dismutase supplement? Well, yes, but with a catch….
Isolated nutrients may not be as beneficial as you might think. This is especially true of antioxidant supplements.
An isolated SOD may show great results in a lab. But they may not offer the same benefits in the human body. That’s why, poor general soil quality aside, it’s better to get your daily dose of antioxidants from food.
You have a much better chance at preventing a chronic disease by regularly consuming lots of low-starch vegetables and low-sugar fruits.
Wheatgrass and dark, leafy greens are excellent sources of superoxide dismutase. So, too, is nutritional yeast. There’s a tricky thing about getting enough SOD from the diet, however….
Some foods are naturally high in SOD, including melon and cantaloupe. But in tests, neither melons or cantaloupe seem to elevate levels of superoxide dismutase in the body.
But these foods may be rich in the natural chemical compounds that get converted into SOD/ Nutrition can get very confusing, so don’t let your head spin out of control about this last fact.
The important takeaway is to eat lots of dark leafy greens. And consider adding nutritional yeast and wheatgrass to your diet.
Be careful with melons and cantaloupe, however. If you’re on a strict low-carb diet, you’ll need to watch the fructose in melons.
Superoxide dismutase supplement side effects
As mentioned, you can take a superoxide dismutase supplement. You’ll have to do your research to determine which brand of SOD has been clinically shown to actually raise SOD enzyme capacity in the body.
That being said, any supplement has the potential to cause side effects. You can see from above there’s several positive side effects from having SOD do its thing in your body. But what about supplemental SOD?
Some doctors inject SOD in people that have chronic diseases. So far, research studies aren’t showing any serious SOD negative side effects. And there’s no negative side effects listed on WebMD.
There is, however, concern about animal-derived source of SOD and contamination. You can get plant-sourced SOD instead of animal-based.
Superoxide dismutase mechanism
Ok, if you slept through most of high school or college biochemistry but now you really want to know how SOD scavenges and neutralizes free radicals, here’s a brief primer. Very brief.
There won’t be a quiz at the end, but at least you’ll know the top-level theory about how superoxide dismutase works….
The mechanism of superoxide dismutase is this: it protects intracellular components from oxidative damage, converting the superoxide ion to hydrogen peroxide or water.
If you want to know more about superoxide dismutase mechanism, you should have paid better attention in class! Just kidding. If you really want to geek out on it, here’s a scholarly journal that describes the mechanism that makes SOD your body’s most important internal antioxidant.