SOD (superoxide dismutase), the body’s Front Line of Defense

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is considered to be part of the body’s front line of defense for its immune system (Ighodaro OM, Akinloye OA, 2018). As in any battle, the front line is the area closest to the war zone or area of conflict. SOD is an enzyme found in all living cells and is involved in the battle to keep the immune system fighting for health. 

Known as an antioxidant-based mimetic, SOD is powerful against free radicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS) and helps to prevent damage to the body’s tissues and associated health conditions. It does this by helping a reaction to take place that reduces excess oxygen levels, which causes the damaging of cells (Yasui K, Baba A, 2006). Superoxide dismutase provides a key antioxidant defense mechanism against oxidative stress in humans (Younus H, 2018). A number of studies have shown that it works in the inflammatory pathway and prevents harmful changes to cells. 

  • SOD provides support during the aging process

SOD has been shown to decline with age and with lower SOD levels it causes cells to lose their capacity to fight off free radicals (Inal ME et al, 2001). Individuals will then become more susceptible to health conditions. When SOD levels are increased it not only has antioxidant properties, but shows it is supportive during the aging process.

Why SOD is important in defending the body against free radicals

Superoxide dismutase is key to fighting off the super oxide anion radical, which is continually made during normal body metabolism and is active in the mitochondria where energy is produced.  

The free radicals are involved in generating adverse health conditions by attacking the immune system, heart and blood vessels, liver, joints and blood sugar and other parts of the human body  (Younus H, 2018). Free radicals also harm the central and peripheral nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, and other related tissues. 

SOD is important to the skin’s collagen. Free radicals also attack collagen. Collagen is necessary in keeping the skin have elasticity and promotes one to look youthful. The reactive oxygen species causes structural damage to collagen that causes wrinkles and sagging of skin. Research has been done to demonstrate that SOD binds to collagen to help protect against harmful oxidation (Petersen SV et al, 2004).

In general, the free radicals increase and overpower the antioxidants in the body causing harm by instigating oxidation to important cellular DNA, protein and lipids. SOD helps to keep the body healthy and reduces free radical activity.

How to increase SOD levels in the body

The objective is to lower the incidence of free radical activity by consuming more foods that would increase SOD levels and that are rich in antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, vitamin A, beta carotene and other carotenoids, alpha lipoic acid, polyphenols, coenzyme Q10, alpha tocopherols. These have been shown to help prevent oxidative damage by free radicals (Ighodaro OM, Akinloye OA, 2018). A diet high in fruits and vegetables is quite beneficial to accomplish the quenching of free radicals.

In summary, Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is part of the body’s first line of defense for the immune system and is key in fighting against free radicals that attack the body. Consuming foods high in antioxidants and nutrients help provide support to keep SOD levels high enough to prevent being overwhelmed by free radicals.