Study: Can antioxidants in green tea and vitamin C protect you from toxins in drinking water?
(Natural News) It may sound alarming, but access to safe drinking water in the U.S. is not guaranteed. Unfortunately, around 90 contaminants are regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act, despite multiple studies showing hundreds of contaminants present in the water supply.
Despite the lack of implementation, there are still things that you can do to help keep your water clean — aside from buying a great water filter. New research suggests that antioxidants from certain foods and drinks may play a role in protecting against the harmful effects of certain chemicals found in tap water. (Related: Why buy a water filter? Is your tap water toxic?)
A study conducted by researchers at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois revealed that antioxidants such as vitamin C and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may reduce the negative effects of hexavalent chromium, a contaminant commonly present in drinking water.
Hexavalent chromium often enters the water supply through industrial waste. This chemical is known to cause cancer, and research shows that it contaminates water supplies for over 200 million Americans in all 50 states.
For the study, the researchers looked at human cells to determine whether antioxidants prevent cell toxicity. They exposed two types of human cells to a solution containing different concentrations of hexavalent chromium. They observed the toxic effects on cells at concentrations of 200 parts per billion (ppb) or higher. Surprisingly, 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.
The researchers also conducted other experiments in which they observed DNA mutations in bacteria exposed to 20 ppb or more of hexavalent chromium. They found that treating bacteria exposed to the chemical with 20 ppm of vitamin C prevented these DNA mutations.
Although the researchers were not able to determine exactly how much protection you would get by increasing your intake of these antioxidants in your diet, these compounds are linked to many other benefits such as boosting your immunity and reducing your risk of cancer. Therefore, consuming more of them is generally good for your health. Overall, the researchers suggested that adding these antioxidants directly to the water supply could fight the toxic effects of hexavalent chromium.
These findings suggested that an oxidative mechanism is likely responsible for the contaminant’s toxicity, which could be prevented by treating the water with antioxidants. The researchers hope that their findings could help improve water quality monitoring and regulation and could lead to treatment that reduces health risks from exposure to hexavalent chromium. The team presented their findings at the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida.