In 1968, Irwin Fridorich discovered an enzyme which later proved to be one of the most powerful antioxidants that your body can make, after catalase and glutathione peroxidase. It is called SuperOxide Dismutase, or SOD for short. It’s produced by a gene called SOD1 which actually creates several types of the SOD enzyme, yet each type has the same function – to protect the body against free radicals called superoxide, which damage cells. By protecting cells from damage, SOD also helps slow down the aging process.

So how does this make it an anti-aging enzyme?

The aging process is actually thought by researchers to be a process of increasing disease in the body. This means that the older we get, the less able our bodies are to keep our cells healthy and this can lead to all sorts of age-related problems, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and arthritis. We need antioxidants like SOD in our body to help slow the aging process and keep the onset of disease at bay. There are many antioxidants which help our bodies and SOD is one of the most efficient and powerful.

 

What is SOD and how does it work?

During cell metabolism (which creates energy for our body to use), the free radicals, superoxide and hydrogen peroxide (also known as hydroxyl radicals), are produced as a waste by-product. These free radicals can greatly damage and ‘age’ cells but that’s where superoxide dismutase (SOD) comes in – it helps neutralise the free radicals by breaking them down so they can no longer cause damage. Generally, these free radicals are kept in balance by antioxidants such as SOD. Aging and even disease can happen when there are more free radicals than appropriate antioxidants to combat them. This results in cells which age and die faster. In some cases, the replacement cells are weaker than before and this can have a knock-on effect on the body, speeding up the aging process even more. Unfortunately, our natural production of SOD decreases as we get older, yet our body’s exposure to toxins continues.

Having high levels of SOD in your body can help you maintain your health and even improve cell resilience and slow down aging. For example, it is thought that inflammation is the precursor which leads to disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis or psoriasis, and symptoms can be alleviated through appropriate antioxidants. When applied to skin, such as is the case with some beauty products, it can help wounds and burns heal faster, reduce redness and help protect against the sun’s UV rays. SOD can help your body, inside and out!

 

How to increase SOD in your body?

Once discovered, there was a rush to create an oral supplement to boost our body’s production of SOD and keep us all young-looking and healthy – maybe this was the key to stop us aging?  However, it wasn’t as easy as that and it was found that the stomach’s harsh acidic nature destroyed any SOD taken as a pill. What has recently been discovered is that by combining SOD with gliadin, a wheat protein, SOD can be protected until it enters the body through digestion and as a result, several supplements containing SOD are now available. Previously, researchers were (and still are), experimenting with injections and nasal sprays which enter your bloodstream faster.

 

There are many foods which naturally contain SOD so you can also try and boost your SOD levels through diet, although it’s not guaranteed the enzyme you need will be functioning after hitting the stomach.

 

These are the best foods for high levels of SOD:

Fruits: Honeydew and cantaloupe melons

Green vegetables: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage

Mineral-rich foods: Foods containing copper, zinc and manganese can also help boost SOD levels, such as spinach, chard, asparagus, sesame seeds, strawberries, oats, green beans and pineapple.

Vitamins: Vitamin E, found in almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds and broccoli, especially can boost SOD levels by approximately 30%

Some researchers also believe that eating a little wheat (which contains gliadin) with your fruit and vegetables can help protect the SOD from stomach acid.

However you look to increase your SOD levels and prevent aging, remember that a healthy diet is essential, along with adequate exercise and steering clear of known toxins, including smoking, pollution and excessive alcohol consumption.

VitaDSO, the SOD supplement

VitaDSO is a range of 7 supplements, each focused on increasing superoxide dismutase levels whilst supporting a range of lifestyle requirements, for example, the immune system or a healthy heart. View the full range here >