Superoxide DismutasePosted 9 years ago under Uncategorized
Like many discoveries, superoxide dismutase was discovered by accident.
Joe McCord was looking for the function of a different enzyme when he chanced upon a mysterious enzyme that seemed to be present in every form of life except anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that does not need oxygen to survive. In the beginning, neither McCord nor his mentor, Irwin Fridovich, understood the purpose of this enzyme, which they named superoxide dismutase (SOD), but they were convinced that it was important.
This discovery was the beginning of research into antioxidants and free radicals. In the late sixties, when McCord and Fridovich first published their findings, their research was received with little enthusiasm. Most of their peers did not grasp the importance of antioxidants and their role in human health and vitality. Now, decades later, we know a great deal more about how free radicals are generated and the role antioxidants play in the body to protect against their damage.
An Unavoidable Free Radical
Oxygen molecules generate what is collectively known as oxidative stress. Oxygen is actually highly corrosive. Breathing in oxygen throughout the body generates free radicals. This taking in of oxygen into the body generates the free radical superoxide, an unstable form of oxygen. Obviously, there’s no way to avoid this. Oxygen is just one of our unavoidable sources of free radicals.
How Does SOD Work?
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is both an enzyme and an antioxidant that protects against the free radical, superoxide. SOD changes this free radical to hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide is still a free radical. SOD then works in concert with another antioxidant, catalase, to change hydrogen peroxide from an unstable free radical to water, a stable compound.
SOD is produced in the body from three minerals: copper, zinc, and manganese. Good sources of copper and manganese can be found in whole grains and nuts. Good sources of zinc include egg yolks, milk, oatmeal, nuts, legumes, and meat.