Superoxide Dismutase (SOD): The most powerful natural antioxidant

What is SOD and what does it do?

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a natural enzyme and is our body’s main defense against oxidative stress. It is one of the most powerful natural antioxidant agents and protects our cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

what is superoxide dismutase

SOD is one of the enzymes in our body belonging to the primary antioxidant system. This system is much more effective than classic antioxidants, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, or vitamins (A, E, C), as it is capable of neutralizing up to 1 million free radicals/s.

Metabolism: free radicals vs SOD

Metabolism, the natural mechanism by which we obtain energy for all our vital functions, is a natural oxidation process. That is, the organic matter that we consume together with the O2 in the air we breathe produces energy and CO2.

However, in this process free radicals are produced that damage our body. On many occasions, these free radicals are responsible for:

  • DNA alterations.
  • Break down cell membranes.
  • Provoke inflammatory processes.
  • Inactivate our immune system.

SOD is the first enzyme responsible for eliminating these free radicals to avoid their adverse effects. However, on many occasions the number of free radicals increases significantly and our own levels of endogenous SOD are not able to neutralize them.

SOD vs free radicals

Diets rich in fats, sugars, processed foods, sports activities or the passage of age, make our natural levels of SOD not enough and these unwanted effects occur.

Thus, food supplements, creams or nutraceutical products based on TetraSOD® are a very effective tool to fight free radicals in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory processes.

Benefits of SOD

SOD has important benefits both for the health of our body and in the field of well-being and skin care.

superoxide dismutase benefits

Health benefits

Free radicals are associated with the appearance of many discomforts or diseases. That is why SOD has a broad spectrum of action and many health benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory agent
  • Prevents cognitive decline
  • Relieves stress and fatigue
  • Prevents cardiovascular problems
  • Promotes physical recovery
  • Improves sports performance
  • Increases joint health
  • Improves fertility in both sexes
  • Acts against hearing loss
  • They have anti-cellulite properties
  • Improves skin health
  • Improves eye health
  • Helps control weight
  • High anti-aging effect

Beauty and Skin Care

Although many of the cosmetic products have a direct relationship with beauty, we must not forget that the skin is the largest organ of our body.

Therefore, the use of SOD in cosmetic products helps us both to eliminate imperfections and to take care of the health of our skin against free radicals. In general, the main uses of SOD in beauty products have the following benefits:

  • Prevent wrinkles
  • Eliminate expression lines
  • Remove skin blemishes
  • Help healing
  • Smooth scarred skin
  • Protect against UV exposure
  • Reduce the signs of aging

Foods rich in SOD

Some cereals such as wheat or barley, vegetables such as peas or broccoli, and fruits such as melon or certain types of berries have a high content of SOD.

However, in recent years, many investigations have shown that the main source of naturally occurring SOD is found in certain types of marine algae or phytoplankton.

foods rich in superoxide dismutase

Natural sources of SOD, GPx and CAT

If SOD is the main shield against the harmful effects of free radicals, GPx (glutathione peroxidase) and CAT (catalase) are also necessary to form a more effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory system.

For this reason, it is not only important that the foods in our diet are rich in SOD, but that they need to have a balanced composition to activate the entire antioxidant system of the body. The direct antioxidant activity can be determined by in vitro testing using ORAC.

comparison of natural sources of SOD

Among the natural sources with the highest antioxidant capacity, fruits stand out, especially red ones, and above all, phytoplankton of marine origin.

What is ORAC?

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. The ORAC value allows the antioxidant capacity of different foods or natural compounds capable of neutralizing free radicals to be quantified.

ORAC units are µmol TE per 100 g, where TE (Trolox Equivalent) is the standard of antioxidant activity taking the Trolox compound as a reference.

The most balanced supplement in SOD and antioxidant capacity

Marine phytoplankton is, above all, the main natural source of SOD and one of the most balanced natural products when it comes to increasing the antioxidant capacity of our body.

Among the large number of phytoplankton species, Tetraselmis chuii, a unicellular marine algae, is the one that allows obtaining the most active and effective supplements to combat free radicals. It is a very versatile ingredient that is used in food supplements, cosmetic products, or in the formulation of nutraceutical products.

TetraSOD® is an active ingredient derived from the microalgae Tetraselmis chuii, and is currently the supplement with the most balanced composition in antioxidant capacity. It contains the three antioxidant enzymes (SOD, GPx and CAT), essential fatty acids, secondary antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and pigments.

Proven antioxidant capacity of TetraSOD®

ParameterValue per 1 g
SOD activity≥ 30.000 IU
CAA (cell activity assay)38.94 µmol QE
ORAC343 µmol TE


How much SOD can I take per day?

It is recommended to take 750 IU of SOD per day. In the case of TetraSOD®, this amount of daily SOD is achieved with only 25 mg.

Most commercial SOD dietary products, either capsules or tablets, contain the recommended daily amount in 1 capsule taken with water.

In the case of creams, lotions or other cosmetic products with SOD, smaller amounts of SOD are normally used. In cosmetic products, it is always advisable to follow the recommendations of the brand.

Does SOD have side effects?

SOD is an enzyme in our body to combat oxidative stress, so its recommended consumption or use does not cause allergies or side effects.

It is important that, in each type of product with SOD that we use, we pay special attention to the rest of the components of its formulation. It is there where we can find ingredients that can cause allergies or adverse side effects depending on our state of health.

As a general rule, its use is not recommended in children under 12 years old, in pregnant women without medical supervision, or during breastfeeding.

What does the name of SOD mean?

Most of the enzymes in our body have a name derived from their biological function.

In this case, the last name “dismutase” refers to the dismutation or elimination of free radicals. The name “superoxide” refers to the compounds on which it acts, free oxygen radicals or superoxides.

References and bibliography:

  1. Superoxide dismutase, an updated review on its health benefits and industrial applications:
  2. Manganese Superoxide Dismutase Acetylation and Regulation of Protein Structure in Breast Cancer Biology and Therapy
  3. Glucose-lowering effects of orally administered superoxide dismutase in type 2 diabetic model rats:
  4. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and cancer:
  5. Oxidative stress and visual system:
  6. Superoxide dismutase 3 prevents early stage diabetic retinopathy in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat model:
  7. Antioxidants and Their Role in Preventing Diseases:
  8. Therapeutic Treatment of Superoxide Dismutase 1 (G93A) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: