Although SOD has been sold as a supplement, animal research shows that oral SOD is destroyed by the digestive system before it can repair damaged joints. Responsible scientists presume the same is true for humans, and there remains no evidence supporting the use of oral SOD supplements. Additional research with enteric-coated tablets of active SOD may provide new routes of administration in the future for use in inflammatory disorders.
Nevertheless, three minerals are needed by the body to make its own SOD: zinc, copper and manganese. Deficient levels of copper and manganese will lower SOD levels in animals. Moreover, copper-deficient humans have low SOD levels which increase with copper supplementation. Supplementing copper in patients with rheumatoid arthritis has also been reported to increase SOD levels.
During the initial phase of wound healing, immune cells are rushed to the wound site to protect against harmful invaders. They actually use free radicals to fight bacteria and to dispose of dead tissue. Once the free radicals have accomplished their job, however, they must be neutralized so the actual healing process can begin. SOD and other antioxidants such as vitamins C and D stop the free-radical oxidation process and promote the healing and repair process itself. Wounds treated with SOD have been shown to heal better and more quickly [Niwa 1989; Misaki et al. 1990; Eldad et al. 1998].
Injury can deplete SOD and other antioxidants. For certain antioxidants, depletion levels as high as 70% have been reported following injury [Ballmer et al. 1994]. SOD should be supplemented to encourage new tissue to grow, to enhance collagen, and to reduce swelling. Current research indicates that SOD taken orally is destroyed in the digestive tract. A lipid-encapsulated injectable form of SOD (LIPSOD) and a sublingually administered form currently show the most promise for direct supplementation.