The Benefits of Superoxide Dismutase

What Should I Know About It?

Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme found naturally in your body. Also available in dietary supplement and injectable forms, superoxide dismutase promotes the breakdown of free radicals. Superoxide dismutase supplements are used to treat and prevent a number of health problems and diseases.

Health Benefits of Superoxide Dismutase:

So far, research on the health effects of supplements containing superoxide dismutase is limited.

What's more, there's some evidence that superoxide dismutase may not be absorbed by the body when taken in supplement form.

Preliminary research suggests that superoxide dismutase shows promise in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and some forms of cancer, according to a report published in Medical Science Monitor in 2002. However, there is currently a lack of clinical trials testing the use of superoxide dismutase in treatment of these conditions.

There's also some evidence that taking superoxide dismutase in combination with gliadin (a type of protein sourced from wheat) may help protect against damage caused by oxidative stress. In a preliminary study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2004, for instance, tests on animals revealed that treatment with a combination of superoxide dismutase and gliadin may help increase antioxidant activity.

Studies on the health effects of intravenously administered superoxide dismutase include a 1994 report published in Circulation. The study involved 120 patients who had recently experienced a heart attack. Prior to undergoing coronary angioplasty (a procedure used to open narrow arteries in the heart), patients received either a placebo or an infusion of superoxide dismutase.

Study results showed that superoxide dismutase failed to produce improvements in cardiac function.

Uses for Superoxide Dismutase

In alternative medicine, superoxide dismutase supplements are said to protect against the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cataracts
  • gout
  • inflammation
  • interstitial cystitis
  • osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • scleroderma

Superoxide dismutase is also said to slow up the aging process and reverse signs of aging in the skin.

Caveats

Due to the lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of supplements containing superoxide dismutase.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Alternatives to Superoxide Dismutase

A number of other natural remedies may help shield the body from damage induced by free radicals. For instance, research indicates that substances such as green tea, resveratrol, turmeric, grapeseed, cocoa, and anthocyanins may help increase antioxidant activity and fight oxidative stress. In addition, nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene are known to act as antioxidants.

Find out the best food sources of antioxidants.

Where to Find It

Available for purchase online, superoxide dismutase supplements can be found in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Using Superoxide Dismutase for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend superoxide dismutase as a treatment for any condition.It's important to note that self-treating a condition with superoxide dismutase supplements and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the using it, make sure to consult your primary care provider.

Sources

Flaherty JT, Pitt B, Gruber JW, Heuser RR, Rothbaum DA, Burwell LR, George BS, Kereiakes DJ, Deitchman D, Gustafson N, et al. "Recombinant human superoxide dismutase (h-SOD) fails to improve recovery of ventricular function in patients undergoing coronary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction." Circulation. 1994 May;89(5):1982-91.

Noor R, Mittal S, Iqbal J. "Superoxide dismutase--applications and relevance to human diseases"." Med Sci Monit. 2002 Sep;8(9):RA210-5.

Vouldoukis I, Conti M, Krauss P, Kamaté C, Blazquez S, Tefit M, Mazier D, Calenda A, Dugas B. "Supplementation with gliadin-combined plant superoxide dismutase extract promotes antioxidant defences and protects against oxidative stress." Phytother Res. 2004 Dec;18(12):957-62.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Continue Reading