A superoxide dismutase (SOD) supplement, GliSODin, in combination with diet and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, French researchers have reported.
"We have demonstrated that long-term primary prevention in cardiovascular disease is possible in (apparently) healthy adults with risk factors by combining: regular comprehensive clinical and biological evaluation… and GliSODin that improves significantly the anti-oxidant status and diminishes remarkably carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT) [thickening of the artery]," wrote the researchers in the European Annals of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
SOD has a different mode of action to vitamins. Dubbed 'the enzyme of life' when first discovered in 1968, it is the first antioxidant mobilized by the cell for defence. It is thought to be more powerful than antioxidant vitamins as it activates the body's productions of its own antioxidants, including catalase and glutathione peroxidase.
GliSODin is patented and trademarked by Paris-based Isocell. In North America PL Thomas distributes the ingredient. Neither company was involved in the new research.
The researchers, led by Maurice Cloarec from the National Association of Medical Prevention, recruited 76 patients considered to be at risk of cardiovascular disease but with no clinical symptoms of the disease, and assigned them to the Lyon Heart Diet and lifestyle modifications with rigorous oversight by the clinicians for twelve months. Minor improvements in BMI, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol were observed.
Due to the stringent conditions 42 subjects dropped out. The remaining 34 subjects were then randomly divided into two groups and followed for two more years - one to continue with the diet and lifestyles recommendations only, and the second was supplemented with 500 International Units of SOD (GliSODin).
While no changes in antioxidant status was observed in the control group over the two year period, the GliSODin-supplemented group saw a significant improved antioxidant status with a reduction of 34 per cent in malondialdehyde (MDA), a reactive carbonyl compound and a major end product of lipid oxidation, compared to the control.
Cloarec and colleagues used ultrasound-B imaging to measure carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT), a sign of atherosclerosis, and found that IMT decreased significantly in the SOD group, compared to the control group.
Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and is reported to cost the EU economy about €169bn ($202bn) per year.
The study was welcomed by Francois Vix, president of Isocell, who said: "This study is very interesting in that it confirms changes in diet and lifestyle can impact risk factors, but do not reduce inflammation nor protect cardiovascular health - suggesting once started, the inflammatory process will continue.
"Further, clearly supplementation with GliSODin helps halt inflammation and also positively impacts and may even regress previous damage."
Source: European Annals of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
2007, Volume 39, Number 2, Pages 2-7
"GliSODin, a vegetal SOD with gliadin, as preventative agent vs. atherosclerosis as confirmed with carotid ultrasound-B imaging"
Authors: M. Cloarec, P. Caillard, J.-C. Provost, J.-M. Dever, Y. Elbeze, N. Zamaria