We started selling Bergstrom's OptiMSM back in 2011 - Flakes, and Powder.   In retrospect, we should have just chosen one, since it has been very hard to balance the ordering of them - with various periods of one greatly outselling the other.    There has also been some confusion as to which one is “best”…. so this article will hopefully explain the differences between the 2 types.


For the time being, we have decided to stock just the OptiMSM Flakes (which we feel are the better).    Over the last 9—12 months, the Flakes have outsold the Powder by the highest ever levels… and our OptiMSM Capsules exclusively use the Flakes.     By focusing on just the Flakes, we should be able to avoid any outages by ordering earlier, and not having to guess how to split the order.


Firstly, both types are made using the same ingredients, same general process, in the same factory, by Bergstrom Nutrition in Washington State, USA.    The raw ingredient is wood/paper pulp fluid, rather than petrochemicals which are used for most MSM - and the finalised OptiMSM gets distilled 4 times, greatly reducing any contaminants, heavy metals, as well as moisture.    For this process, the Flakes and Powder are identical.


The difference between the 2 is in the size of the MSM “particles” - the Flakes are coarse, being similar to salt crystals - whilst the Powder is exceptionally fine, like talc.    


So which is better??


Officially, they are the same… though some people believe the Flakes are more bio-available, being in a natural flake/crystal structure, rather than being ground to exceptionally fine powder.   There isn’t any proof of that, and all of the MSM gets dissolved in your Water/Juice/Milk/Protein Shake anyway - but we’ve heard from some people who have tried both that they believed the Flakes were “stronger” and more effective.


Another observation is that because the Flakes are much larger, they have far less exposed surface area (picture the difference between skinny fries, and large chips — if you have the same weight of each, the fries will have much more surface area, therefore having more fat when frying).   This means the Flakes have far less ability to be affected by moisture in the atmosphere - though officially both types have 5 year recommended shelf life from date of manufacture.   


The main issue with the Powder, is that it sets rock hard into lumps and “bricks”.   When we receive the 20kg boxes, there are often lumps in excess of 1kg, and it all has to be broken down to more manageable powder and lumps.   We try to break the Powder again before each pack gets sent out - though if it sits for a while, it tends to turn back into a brick.   This isn’t a major issue, though it can be somewhat annoying.    




PROS: Extremely fast and easy to dissolve — slightly easier to dissolve in gels/lotions

CONS: Clumps together in hard lumps and “bricks” - often needs to be broken down using a fork or other implement.    Has a very large surface area, so may degrade faster than Flakes.



PROS:  Much easier to work with — doesn’t set into rock hard lumps — less surface area — some users believe it’s more effective and bio-available.

CONS:  Takes slightly longer to dissolve due to the reduced surface area.


Here are some comparison photos:





UK Supplier of OptiMSM Distilled MSM Powder, Flakes and Capsules