The relevance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production relies on the dual role shown by these molecules in aerobes. ROS are known to modulate several physiological phenomena, such as immune response and cell growth and differentiation; on the other hand, uncontrolled ROS production may cause important tissue and cell damage, such as deoxyribonucleic acid oxidation, lipid peroxidation, and protein carbonylation. The manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) antioxidant enzyme affords the major defense against ROS within the mitochondria, which is considered the main ROS production locus in aerobes. Structural and/or functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) within the MnSOD encoding gene may be relevant for ROS detoxification. Specifically, the MnSOD Ala16Val SNP has been shown to alter the enzyme localization and mitochondrial transportation, affecting the redox status balance. Oxidative stress may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, various inflammatory conditions, or cancer. The Ala16Val MnSOD SNP has been associated with these and other chronic diseases; however, inconsistent findings between studies have made difficult drawing definitive conclusions. Environmental factors, such as dietary antioxidant intake and exercise have been shown to affect ROS metabolism through antioxidant enzyme regulation and may contribute to explain inconsistencies in the literature. Nevertheless, whether environmental factors may be associated to the Ala16Val genotypes in human diseases still needs to be clarified.