The aim of this study was to see whether the taurine (TAU), alpha-lipoic acid (LA), curcumin (CUR), and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) protection against oxidative stress caused by heavy metals is owed to the metal-decreasing or antioxidative effect. In this context, liver and kidney tissues of common carp (Cyprinus carpio carpio L.) were exposed in vivo to model toxicants cadmium (Cd) and chromium (Cr). The tissues were dissected 96 h after intraperitoneal injection of the metals and antioxidant substances. Cd and Cr levels were determined in the liver using the ICP-OES, but we could not obtain enough kidney tissue to make the same measurements in the kidney. The enzymatic activities of SOD, CAT, and GPx, and the GSH redox status and lipid peroxidation levels were analyzed using spectrophotometric methods. Of all investigated antioxidants, only NAC decreased metal levels in the liver. Cd had little effect on oxidative stress parameters, while Cr showed a weak prooxidative effect. Cotreatment with TAU/LA/CUR/NAC and Cr significantly increased liver SOD activity. Chromium induced kidney SOD and CAT, but all antioxidants lowered CAT activity. Cadmium reduced liver and increased kidney GSSG. NAC increased liver GSH, but the increase did not correlate with decrease in Cd. Curcumin given with Cd increased kidney and decreased liver lipid peroxidation, whereas TAU with Cr increased lipid peroxidation in both tissues. N-Acetylcysteine was the most effective antioxidative agent, owing to its metal-decreasing function as well as to its effects on the GSH redox status. We believe that the investigated antioxidant substances which may have been involved in the reduction of Cr caused an increase in SOD activity and a decrease in CAT activity. Changes in the GSSG levels in both tissues might be an adaptive response to the prooxidative potential of Cd. Because of their respective tissue- and metal-dependent prooxidative effects, CUR and TAU deserve particular attention in regard to their use against metal toxicity, Cr in particular. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 129–137, 2014.