Antioxidants also shield you from the harmful effects of water contaminants, according to study
11/25/2019 // Melissa Smith // Views

Contaminants are ever present, even in seemingly clean water. Researchers suggest that antioxidants such as vitamin C and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may help protect you from the harmful effects of hexavalent chromium, a contaminant commonly found in drinking water.

Researchers from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois looked at human cells to determine whether antioxidants can prevent cell toxicity. They exposed two types of human cells to different concentrations of hexavalent chromium. They observed the chemical’s toxic effects on cells at concentrations of 200 parts per billion (ppb) or higher.

Hexavalent chromium often leaches into water supply through industrial waste. This chemical is known to cause cancer, and studies revealed that it contaminates water supplies for more than 200 million people in the United States.

The researchers found that the harmful effects of high hexavalent chromium concentrations could be completely blocked by adding vitamin C at 10 parts per million (ppm) or EGCG at 15 ppm.

In additional experiments, the researchers investigated DNA mutations in bacteria exposed to 20 ppb or more of hexavalent chromium. The results showed that treating bacteria exposed to the chemical with 20 ppm of vitamin C prevented the DNA mutations.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that an oxidative mechanism may be responsible for the contaminant’s toxicity, which could be prevented by treating water with antioxidants. The team hopes that their study could help improve water quality monitoring and regulation, and could lead to treatment that reduces health risks from exposure to hexavalent chromium. They presented their findings at the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida.


Access to safe drinking water in the U.S. is not guaranteed, so putting in extra effort on keeping your water clean and safe for consumption is important. Numerous studies have shown that there are hundreds of contaminants in the water supply. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act since 1974 only regulates about 90 contaminants. The findings of the study highlight the importance of better regulation of these contaminants.

Vitamin C can be found in many fruits and vegetables, including berries, bell peppers, and citrus fruits. EGCG, on the other hand, is the main antioxidant found in green tea. The researchers have yet to determine exactly how much protection you would get from increasing your intake of these antioxidants, but these compounds have already been linked to many other health benefits. Therefore, upping your intake of vitamin C and EGCG is good for your overall health.

Making sure your water is safe to drink

Water is one of the basic needs of many living beings. It keeps you hydrated, aids in digestion, helps flush out toxins, and even aids in weight loss. Ensuring that your drinking water is clean is also important to prevent disease and other harmful effects caused by contaminated water. Here are some tips for making sure your water is safe:

  • Check your water quality – You can request a report from your city or contact your local water supplier to conduct water testing. Water suppliers are required by law to regulate and monitor the supply for contaminants and reduce them to safe levels determined by the EPA.
  • Invest in a water filter – Trace amounts of impurities can still be present in water even if it is monitored. These impurities can include lead that leaches from household plumbing. Exposure to very low levels of lead in drinking water can cause cognitive problems, particularly in children. Consider investing in a reverse osmosis carbon filter, which can be installed under the sink. (Related: How to Choose the Perfect Water Filter for Your Home)
  • Don't rely on bottled water – Bottled water is not safe from contaminants, either. Consumer Reports reveal that some bottled water brands contain arsenic at unsafe levels. Drinking filtered water from your home filtration system is safe and eco-friendly, reducing your use of plastic bottles.

Learn more ways on how to keep your drinking water clean and safe at

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