One of the primary benefits of superoxide dismutase is to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Chronic inflammation underlies many health problems therefore, optimal superoxide dismutase levels are critical for reducing health problems associated with increased inflammation.
Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme that helps to break down harmful oxygen molecules that cause tissue damage. It is a potent antioxidant that helps protect against oxidative stress in the body.
As the body ages, SOD levels often drop, making people more prone to oxidative stress and all the health problems associated with increased oxidative stress and inflammation due to weakened antioxidant defenses.
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Increased levels of oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with many diseases, including:
- neurodegenerative diseases
- rheumatoid arthritis
- and even cancer
Maintaining the internal antioxidant defense is crucial to protect against the build-up of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
The superoxide dismutase enzymes play a critical role in reducing oxidative stress by breaking down reactive oxygen species (ROS). Excessive levels of ROS cause tissue damage and excess inflammation.
What is Superoxide dismutase?
Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme that breaks down the superoxide free radical (O₂⁻) into molecular oxygen (O₂) and hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂)
The superoxide free radical is a by-product of oxygen metabolism. The health benefits of superoxide dismutase include:
preventing the denaturation of enzymes
prevents oxidized lipids
prevents fragmented DNA
To prevent damage caused by oxidative stress the SOD enzyme must break down the superoxide free radical.
Benefits of superoxide dismutase to reduce oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons, such as the superoxide free radicals.
The superoxide free radical needs to be broken down by the superoxide dismutase enzyme otherwise oxidative stress will build up in the body.
The superoxide free radical is broken down into molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, but the hydrogen peroxide still needs to be reduced further by glutathione into water. Glutathione is another crucial antioxidant produced by the body to combat excess inflammation.
Antioxidants are molecules that scavenge free radicals in the body by donating an electron to make them less reactive. Antioxidants are found in fruit and vegetables, which is why a high plant-based diet rich in antioxidants plays a crucial role in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Blueberries are one of the top antioxidant-rich fruits that squelch free radicals.
What causes oxidative stress?
Inflammation and oxidative stress is a natural defense in response to pathogens such as viral or bacterial infections, injury to tissues, exposure to allergens that stimulate an inflammatory immune reaction, and toxic chemicals.
As part of the body’s immune response immune cells such as lymphocytes, macrophages and neutrophils release superoxide free radicals and hydrogen peroxide to fight pathogens.
As a result of fighting infections, oxidative stress and inflammation levels are increased and need to be broken down by antioxidants in the body such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione so that these free radicals do not continue to cause tissue damage.
Oxidative stress is also produced as a result of the mitochondria using oxygen to make ATP (energy) in the body. The manganese superoxide dismutase enzyme is located in mitochondria to protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage.
The benefits of superoxide dismutase are far-reaching due to the role of SOD in protecting the mitochondria. Having healthy mitochondria are crucial for optimal health in the body. We rely upon the mitochondria to make energy so that all the processes in the body can be carried out.
Testing for SNPs in the SOD enzyme
Through using Strategene DNA testing, I was able to run my genetic report. I discovered that I am homozygous in the MnSOD SNP, which means I have a decreased ability to neutralize these superoxide free radicals that leads to inflammation when elevated.
One of my health concerns that I could never figure out was having inflammation in my skin that was very reactive, would sunburn easily, and turn red when touched with a ruddy appearance in my face.
Seeing how I am prone to excess oxidative stress and inflammation just through the necessary metabolism of the mitochondria making energy made a lot of sense to me.
I am also prone to inflammation in my joints, which is associated with increased oxidative stress and low antioxidant status. Low superoxide dismutase levels have been found in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Knowing this means it is increasingly important for me to eat an antioxidant-rich diet and foods high in superoxide dismutase to protect against reactive oxygen species such as the superoxide free radical.
Manganese is the co-factor for the MnSOD enzyme to function. Ensuring that enough manganese is obtained and absorbed through the diet is needed to help the SOD enzyme fight free radicals.
Blackberries are one of the richest sources of manganese. This blackberry beet smoothie is fantastic for supporting the SOD enzyme and reducing inflammation.
Identifying what is causing inflammation and immune reactions such as gut infections, food sensitivities, leaky gut, and SIBO are also essential components to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Supplementing with superoxide dismutase can be beneficial for anyone with SNPs in the MnSOD gene. Someone who has low antioxidant activity with increased levels of oxidative stress can also benefit from a superoxide dismutase supplement.