One of my blog readers left a comment on a post mentioning that they give their daughter S.O.D (SuperOxide Dismutase) as a supplement. In the meantime, I have had email correspondance with them and discussed this topic, but I thought it would be helpful to share here as well.
SuperOxide Dismutase itself is sold as a vitamin supplement by a lot of companies. In and of itself, SOD is not bad. It is a powerful antioxidant. But, as with almost anything, too much SOD, causes lots of damage.
The gene for SOD is on the 21st chromosome and is 50% overexpressed in Down Syndrome because of the triplicated chromosome 21.
One example of the increased SOD can be seen in the study, Increased superoxide dismutase and Down's syndrome,
The enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a constitutive enzyme coded by a gene located in Chromosome 21 (21q22.1). Thus, the tissues from patients with trisomy 21 contain 50% more SOD activity.
This triplication causes an increase in the hydroxyl radical, which causes free radicals. Free radicals then turn into oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Because of this, I would not supplement with S.O.D. because it IS in excess in DS. And the excessive amounts are not helping people with DS, but actually causing many problems.
In Down Syndrome there are not enough antioxidants to combat the increase in oxidative stress, because the antioxidants are low. Zinc is low in DS, because of the overexpressed SOD gene. Glutathione is low because of the overexpressed Glutathione Peroxidase gene.
There are so many other good antioxidants that you can give people with DS, such as Zinc, Vitamin E, Glutathione, Blueberry, Curcumin, Coenzyme Q10, etc, that I would not want to supplement with a source that is known to be overexpressed in DS.
Is the supplemental form of SOD the same as the form that is overexpressed in DS? I don't know, but personally, I wouldn’t want to risk it. SOD is overexpressed from the time the child is in the womb and throughout their whole life.