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In the body, dangerous naturally occurring substances called free radicals pose a risk of harm to many tissues. The body deploys an “antioxidant defense system” to hold them in check. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is one of the most important elements of this system. It controls levels of a chemical named “superoxide.” The body manufactures superoxide to kill bacteria and for other uses, but excess levels of superoxide can injure healthy cells. SOD converts superoxide to hydrogen peroxide. Then another enzyme, catalase, neutralizes hydrogen peroxide.
Nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E also help neutralize free radicals. In the 1990s, such antioxidant supplements were widely promoted for preventing a variety of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. ...
Various websites promote SOD for a wide variety of health problems, from preventing aging to enhancing sports performance. However, as noted above, oral SOD supplements may be ineffective due to poor absorption.
A bit of evidence hints that SOD injections may reduce scarring caused by radiation therapy 1 2 3 and also decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis . 4 SOD applied directly to wounds may enhance wound healing, according to experiments in animals. 5 In test-tube and animal studies , genetic manipulation has been used to increase SOD levels, in hopes of finding anti-aging effects, but the results have been mixed. 6 7 8 Inhaled SOD appears to be useful for premature infants, helping to prevent a condition called respiratory distress syndrome. 9 10...
Oral SOD is presumably quite safe, since it is apparently not absorbable. The safety of other forms of SOD (including the possibly absorbable encapsulated form) has not been established.