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Know Your Genes: SOD2 “Antioxidant Gene”

The Superoxide Dismutase 2 (SOD2) gene is associated with the synthesis of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme found to be associated with the conversion of superoxide (O2-) into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This gene is also known as Manganese dependent Superoxide dismutase (MnSOD).

Superoxide is formed in the body as a byproduct of oxygen metabolism and it can result in damage to the cell. The superoxide dismutase is an important antioxidant which protects the cell from ionizing radiation, oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines.

In the polymorphism of SOD2 that is studied (rs4880), the Alanine to Valine change leads to a conformational change, which results in decrease in the activity of the enzyme.  

Association with Antioxidant needs:

In a review paper, it was found that people with the T variant of the gene had 30-40% increase in the activity of MnSOD. In another study conducted on 776 individuals, people with the T variant were shown to be associated with lower plasma total antioxidant status.

There have been certain studies like the study on the risk for Crohn’s disease in which people with the T variant were shown to be over represented in the disease group. However, considering that there are more studies which have shown C variant to be the risk allele, we have taken the C allele to be the risk variant.

Association with Mortality (Longevity):

In a study conducted on 1650 individuals, people with the C variant of the gene were shown to be associated with decreased mortality ( or increased longevity).







[Advantage] More likely to have higher antioxidant activity

[Advantage] More likely to have lower risk for diseases with sufficient antioxidant intake

[Limitation] Less Likely to be associated with longevity

  • Include sufficient amount of antioxidant rich food in the diet

Moderate antioxidant activity

  • Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants is recommended.
  • Lycopene found in tomatoes, watermelon and papayas is an important antioxidant and, since it is not water soluble, cooking tomatoes in oil will help improve absorption.
  • Other foods rich in antioxidants are artichoke, kidney beans, cranberries, wild berries and dark chocolate

[Limitation] More likely to have lower antioxidant activity

[Advantage] More likely to have higher risk for diseases

[Advantage] More likely to be associated with longevity



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Find out which variation of the gene you carry and more at

“Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”


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