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What Are the Health Benefits of Superoxide Dismutase?

by
author image Allison Adams
Allison Adams has worked as a registered dietitian since 1996. She began writing professionally in 2000, with work featured in a variety of medical publications such as "Women's Health Magazine" and the "New England Journal of Medicine." Adams holds a Master of Science in nutrition and food sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme found in almost all living organisms that require oxygen, including some anaerobic bacteria. Superoxide dismutase is one of the enzymes responsible for the removal of free radicals from your body. Free radicals in the form of foods and environmental pollutants cause damage to your body at a cellular level and lead to many medical disorders and diseases. You can also purchase superoxide dismutase as a health supplement. As with any supplement, you should speak with a medical professional prior to taking superoxide dismutase.

How It Works

Superoxide dismutase works by catalyzing the breakdown of superoxide radicals into oxygen and hydrogen. Superoxide radicals are toxic to the living cells in your body. Superoxide dismutase also helps your body to break down oxygen molecules that can damage your cells and tissues.

Uses

According to "Enzymes: What the Experts Know," doctors sometimes administer superoxide dismutase injections to treat certain types of bladder infections, such as interstitial cystitis. Doctors also use superoxide dismutase injections to treat newborns that have lung damage resulting from premature birth. Giving premature newborns oxygen can damage the undeveloped lungs, and superoxide dismutase supplementation can help to prevent this damage. Further, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can also help to minimize the side effects associated with these disorders by taking superoxide dismutase supplements.

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Skin Creams

Skin damage caused by free radicals is thought to be a major cause of wrinkles. Many cosmetic creams contain superoxide dismutase and claim that this enzyme helps to protect the skin from free radical damage. In addition, manufacturers of anti-aging creams claim that this enzyme can actually reduce the wrinkles you already have. However, clinical evidence does not support these claims. Doctors use creams containing superoxide dismutase to support the healing of burns and wounds and reduce some types of pigment disorders.

Do the Supplements Work?

There are no available studies that prove the claims made by superoxide dismutase supplement manufacturers as to the effectiveness or safety of these products. Further, clinical studies have not shown that your body can absorb the superoxide dismutase found in these supplements in your gastrointestinal system. There is also no evidence supporting the safety or long-term effects of using these supplements. Talk to your doctor before using any superoxide dismutase supplement.

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References

  • "Superoxide Dismutase"; Lester Packer; 2002
  • "The Enzyme Factor"; Hiromi Shinya, MD; 2010
  • "Everything You Need to Know About Enzymes"; Tom Bohager; 2009
  • "Enzymes: What the Experts Know"; Tom Bohager; 2006
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