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Removing Chlorine with Ascorbic Acid

Removing Chlorine with Ascorbic Acid tile

Recently we got the unwelcome news that all council water supplies in New Zealand will be chlorinated going forward. While this is understandable from a public health lens, chorine is sometimes undesirable. It tastes weird, and for some it can aggravate skin disorders. In this article, I investigated removing chlorine with ascorbic acid. Can you really remove chlorine from water using plain old vitamin C? Let’s find out.

A bag of Sana Direct Ascorbic Acid on the side of a bath

Does Ascorbic Acid Really Remove Chlorine?

When I first heard that ascorbic acid neutralises chlorine in water systems, I was skeptical. How often is something that simple? It sounded suss. However, after one particularly swimming-pool-flavoured cup of tea, I was motivated to investigate further.

The first article I found was guidance for employees of the USDA around using ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate to neutralise chlorine in aquatic systems. The article notes that both effectively remove chlorine from water. Neither leaves harmful residues or lowers the oxygen content of the water. All of these things are important for aquatic species.

Then a friend mentioned they have a showerhead filter with an ascorbic acid puck to remove chlorine. Ok, so it works, but how? Ahaha, I’m no organic chemist but let’s give this a go.

How Does Ascorbic Acid Remove Chlorine from NZ Water?

While the USDA article gave a chemical equation for the reaction of ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) with hypochlorous acid (HOCL), I needed more info. Specifically, is it important what forms of chlorine are added to our water (?). I discovered that NZ uses three forms of chlorine: liquified chlorine gas (Cl2), sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl a.k.a bleach) which is produced here, and calcium hypochlorite Ca(OCl)2), which is imported. have a good summary of the situation in this document from 2020.

Which type of chlorine each district uses is unclear. If you have any information on that, please put it in the comments. Anyhoo, it’s not too important because ascorbic acid will work in all cases.

The chemical reactions are below. Firstly, what happens with chlorine gas? This took me a while to figure out, but initially, Cl2 reacts with water to become hypochlorous acid (HOCL). Then we add our ascorbic acid and have the reaction from the USDA document.

The products of this reaction are dehydroascorbic acid and hydrogen chloride. HCl can exist as a gas or aqueous solution and I’m not sure which applies here, but in the context of normal water chlorination it is very weak, changing the pH of the water very little. Dehydroascorbic acid is the oxidised form of vitamin C. Within your body this form exists and carries out similar functions to ascorbic acid. Glutathione reduces Dehdroascorbic acid back to ascorbic acid – there’s your biochemistry lesson for the day.

The next reaction is what happens when adding ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) to sodium hypochlorite.

The products of this reaction are dehydroascorbic acid, salt and water.

With calcium hypochlorite, the reaction looks like this:

This reaction forms dehydroascorbic acid, water and calcium chloride, which is harmless.

All of these reactions were found on I also found that there are circumstances where the reaction of ascorbic acid and either form of chlorine can release chlorine gas (Cl2). From what I’ve read, this appears to happen when there are high concentrations of chlorine. For those in NZ, you may remember that there was a dosing error when chlorine was first added to the Christchurch water supply. Rather than the goal of 1.0ppm, the dose was at around 5 ppm, more than you’d normally have in a swimming pool. At that point, I ran a bath, added my ascorbic acid and then had to evacuate the bathroom as the off-gassing made my eyes burn. That doesn’t happen at the usual chlorine levels.

Disclaimer: I’ve done my best with this section, however this type of chemistry is not my field of expertise. If you spot any errors or can clarify anything, please feel free to shame me in the comments.

How Much Ascorbic Acid Do You Need to Remove Chlorine from Water?

Going back to our original USDA article, the amount of ascorbic acid you need to neutralise chlorine is approximately 2.5 parts ascorbic acid to 1 part chlorine. A quick google around the various city councils suggests that in NZ, chlorine dosage is around 0.2 ppm (0.2mg/L). The Christchurch City Council reports chorine dose being 0.2 ppm generally, but 0.5-1.0 ppm where the wells are insecure.

So, assuming the high end of 1 ppm (1mg/L), we would need just 2.5mg/L of ascorbic acid to neutralise it. That is a very, very small amount. In a whole bath of around 80 litres, you need just 200mg, or around 1/20 of a teaspoon.

Searching around the interwebs, the most often cited source for this calculation is the ‘Guidance Manual for the Disposal of Chlorinated Water‘. The quantity mentioned there is 1 gram (1/4 tsp) of ascorbic acid to neutralise chlorine at 1 ppm in 100 gallons (380L) of water. Therefore, to summarise the situation, you probably need a whole lot less than you think, and any amount added to water is likely more than enough.

Personally, my highly scientific method for drinking water is to add just enough that you can’t taste it, or barely taste it. When I take a bath, I just tip some in straight from the bag. I’ve noticed that this helps keep the bath clean too, so I’m almost certainly using way too much. Obviously, you’d want to be careful if you have sensitive skin, err on the side of caution until you’ve found your level. I read that level of up to 50mg per litre can be used in fish tanks to help heal wounds on fish, so perhaps those vitamin C baths are keeping me youthful.

Hopefully, this article has given you some peace of mind around using ascorbic acid to remove chlorine from tap water. It looks like the chlorination is here to stay in NZ, so it’s nice to know there’s an easy and safe way to remove it where it’s not wanted.

Have you used ascorbic acid for removing chlorine? If so, I’m keen to know how much you used and if you were happy with the result. Comments are always welcome (and replied to) ☺️



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Raw Cacao Avocado Ganache

Raw Cacao Avocado Ganache in Ramekins with spoons and rasperries

Theobroma cacao may translate as ‘Food of the Gods’ but chocolatey, rich desserts are not just for supernatural beings. We mortals deserve them also, and preferably without that strange waxiness that commercial offerings sometimes have. Raw cacao avocado ganache? I think so!

This dessert uses our raw cacao powder, which along with being packed with antioxidants, feel-good theobromine and other healthy phytonutrients, is very strong in flavour. You can expect a serious chocolate experience with this semi-sweet dessert, so we’ve put some notes at the bottom of the recipe for toning it down if you’re not quite ready for the zero-to-100 cacao hit.

With those disclaimers in place, here’s our favourite avocado ganache recipe!

Raw Cacao Avocado Ganache

A rich tasting, healthy dessert that is brimming with antioxidants, healthy fats and beneficial phytonutrients
Prep Time30 minutes
Refrigeration Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Avocado, Raw Cacao
Servings: 6


  • Food Processor


  • 4 Large Avocados
  • 3/4 Cup Sana Direct Raw Cacao Powder
  • 100 grams Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1/4 Cup Liquid Sweetener Maple Syrup, Runny Honey, Rice Malt Syrup etc.
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence


  • Melt your coconut oil on low heat in a saucepan
  • Scoop the flesh from the avocados and blend to a smooth paste in your processor
  • Add the cacao powder, salt and vanilla and blend in
  • Pour in the melted coconut oil while the processor is running, then add the sweetener, stopping for taste tests. See the notes for sweetener options
  • Put the finished ganache into six serving dishes or glasses and let them set in the fridge for about 30 minutes
  • Serving options include whipped cream, fresh berries, a sprinkle of cacao nibs or drizzle of syrup or even liqueur


Click here for  Sana Direct Raw Cacao Powder


This dessert is very rich, but not very sweet so you can customise it to suit your palate. To reduce the intensity of the cacao flavour, either reduce the amount of cacao powder or swap it it out for a dutch cocoa powder.
You can replace one or two avocados with large bananas. This will reduce the need for extra sweetener.
Date paste (dates soaked then blended in your processor) can be used in place of the liquid sweetener.

It may not last, but at the time of writing, avocados are pretty affordable (unlike during last years avocadopocalypse) so we’re making the most of them in many ways, including raw cacao avocado ganache. If you do try this recipe, the resulting dessert keeps well in the fridge for up to five days, but will become firmer with time.

Happy eating!

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Traditional Probiotic Sauerkraut

Traditional Probiotic Sauerkraut

We consider traditional probiotic sauerkraut, made the Austrian way, as one of the must-haves for health and holistic living. However, many people don’t eat it because it’s expensive to buy, and seems very tricky to make. But it’s not hard. Making probiotic sauerkraut is deceptively easy.

Fear not!

“Making sauerkraut is deceptively easy”

But what are the benefits? Here’s our top five.

  • Traditional sauerkraut is a broad spectrum probiotic
  • The fermentation process increases quantities of anti-carcinogenic compounds such as glucosinolates and ascorbigen (ref)
  • It stores well and is a reliable source of nutrients when you should have gone shopping but didn’t want to
  • It provides some vitamin C, which is a vitamin we are passionate about – not as much as raw cabbage per dry weight, but sauerkraut is very compact
  • It’s quick and easy to make. Let’s do it!

Traditional Probiotic Sauerkraut

Learn how to make this tasty probiotic classic for optimal gut health
Prep Time30 minutes
Fermentation Time21 days
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Fermented Vegetables, Sauerkraut
Servings: 2 Jars


  • Large Bowl
  • Two sterilised jars (~300 ml capacity each)


  • 10 Cups Finely chopped white cabbage (one large or two smaller cabbages)
  • 1 tbsp Salt


  • Please see the short video in this blog post for a visual of how the various steps should look. The video uses a food processor for the chopping procedure but the process is the same from that point.
  • Pull any grubby outer leaves off your cabbage, reserving two clean ones for stopping the jars later
  • Finely chop your cabbages into thin slices and drop loose handfuls into a bowl. Your total weight of chopped cabbage should be about 800 grams.
  • Sprinkle the salt through the chopped cabbage and let it sit for 5 minutes
  • Start picking up, squeezing and dropping handfuls of cabbage. The cabbage will start out crisp and become softer and more watery as you continue. If you are unsure how this should look, check the video
  • Pack your kraut into clean jars, top up with the brine that you just squeezed from the leaves, and stop down the jar with a cabbage leaf so that the kraut is not exposed to air
  • Lid the jar and let it sit for at least a week in a warm place. Comfortable room temperature is fine. Peak fermentation occurs by week three, so at that point, or when the jar has been opened, transfer to the refrigerator.
  • Once refrigerated, sauerkraut can last up to six months. To prevent contamination or drying out, re-lid the jar after each use.


Traditional sauerkraut often includes caraway seeds, which imparts a slight flavour to the kraut, and adds trace minerals. Caraway seeds are also supposed to be anti-parasitic, if you’re worried about that! If you wish to add some tasty caraway seeds they can be sprinkled in at any stage of the process.

You can also substitute some of the cabbage for other veges: grated carrot or courgette are common. You might add some red cabbage for extra phytonutrients. Red cabbage sauerkraut has a lot more vitamin C than sauerkraut made with white cabbage but tends to be crunchier, so you could do that or you could just stick with the white cabbage and top up with some of our Ascorbic Acid?

Extra Viewing

If you prefer a visual for your first adventure into traditional probiotic sauerkraut, have a look at the short video below. We did our best to make it sharp and to-the-point, which was extremely difficult given all the travel stories we have that involve fermentation discoveries.

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Cholesterol control with Psyllium

Psyllium Husk Powder

So you’ve had your cholesterol results back and there’s some bold words, an asterisk or two and a big, scary H for ‘high’. You’ve been given advice around diet and lifestyle and perhaps prescribed some pharmaceuticals. It’s a lot to take in, so here’s something very simple that you can do to help bring things back into balance. Psyllium husks.

The Research

According to Google Scholar, there are thousands of studies that have looked at the effect of psyllium husk on blood lipids. What have those studies found?

  • Most studies are relatively short term (6-8 weeks) and show LDL lowering in the range of 6-18% compared to placebo, so there is considerable individual variation with some studies identifying ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’.
  • A longer study (Anderson et al., 2000) found that over 6 months, Total and LDL cholesterol levels fell 4.7% and 6.7%. This was significantly different from the placebo group whom were taking a different fibre supplement.
  • The amount used in trials was 10-15 grams over the course of the day, usually in two doses.
  • Psyllium therapy may be safely used alongside drug and diet therapy to increase their effectiveness.

How Does it Work?

The primary mechanism of action appear to be a stimulation of bile acid synthesis and secretion, although ‘how’ it does this is, as yet, unclear.

A strong theory is that psyllium traps bile acid, instead of letting it be re-absorbed by the body, thereby requiring more to be produced. As cholesterol is the primary component bile acid, this may account for the lowering of measured cholesterol.

It is also theorised that psyllium husk may increase production of an enzyme that breaks down cholesterol, known as cholesterol-7a-hydroxylase. Another potential mechanism of action is that as the fibre ferments in the colon, byproducts are absorbed that lower cholesterol synthesis in the liver and certain immune cells (peripheral blood mononuclear cells), although findings for that theory are inconsistent. Unlike food components such as phytosterols, psyllium husk has only a small effect on cholesterol absorption in the gut.


What does it do?Lowers total and LDL cholesterol by up to 18%
Husks or husk powder?Studies reviewed used psyllium husk powder
Amount to use5-15 grams a day
How to use itAlways take psyllium with enough liquid to absorb it. It can be mixed into any liquid as well as used in baking or sprinkled on food
How long to use it forAt least 6 weeks
How does it work?Most likely increases excretion and therefore production of bile acid, which requires cholesterol as well as increasing synthesis of cholesterol-7a-hydroxylase which breaks down cholesterol

Related Products

Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium Husk Powder 40 mesh, No additives

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