Superoxide dismutase supplements have not been shown to confer any health benefits.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme found in all cells of the human body. It breaks down superoxide radicals, which are toxic to living cells and cause DNA mutations, into harmless components consisting of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. The theory behind taking SOD as a supplement is that it will confer extra protection against cellular and DNA damage, but this does not hold true because SOD cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream when taken orally.
As an anti-aging supplement
There is no research to back this claim.
To prevent radiation-induced cystitis (bladder inflammation)
A couple of studies support the use of superoxide dismutase injections to prevent cystitis. More research is needed. No studies support the use of oral superoxide dismutase supplements for this use.
To reduce inflammation
This claim has no supporting research.
To treat osteoarthritis
One clinical trial supports the use of superoxide dismutase injections into the knee for osteoarthritis, but more research is needed. The long-term effectiveness and safety of such injections is not known.
To treat scleroderma
No scientific evidence supports this use.
To treat urinary tract disorders
There are no data to back this claim.
When given by injection, orgotein can cause an allergic reaction or pain and inflammation at the injection site.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a ubiquitous enzyme present throughout the body. It is available in the form of supplements but they not absorbed following oral administration (1). There are no data to support claims of improved health or anti-aging benefit with SOD supplementation. However, animal studies have shown that oral administration of a standardized SOD extract combined with wheat gliadin may protect against oxidative stress-induced cell death (8) and stress-induced impairment of cognitive function (9). There is no supporting literature on the benefits of sublingual SOD.
The parenteral formulation, Orgotein, is classified by the FDA as an orphan drug, not as a dietary supplement, for the treatment of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Studies of possible effects of Orgotein in treating radiation-induced cystitis have yielded mixed results (3)(5)(6).
Urinary tract disorders
Mechanism of Action
The enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalyzes the breakdown of superoxide radicals, that are toxic to living cells, into harmless components consisting of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide (2),but because SOD1 also protects cancer cells and is overexpressed in lung cancer cells, it was identified as a therapeutic target for anti-lung cancer compounds (10).
In a laboratory study, inhibition of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) was shown to induce cell death in various non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells (11).
Common (parenteral): Allergic reaction or pain at injection site.
DerMarderosian A, editor. The Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Facts and Comparisons; 1999.