Those pesky packets

Ever wonder what those tiny packets are in your supplement bottles?

You aren’t the only one. We would say at least once a month we have a client ask us what these packets are, what they contain and if they’re toxic.


Those tiny packets are silica gel packets.  Silica gel is a “desicant”… It absorbs and holds moisture…essentially porous sand.

Supplements aren’t the only place you might find these.  You will find these in beef jerky or pepperoni (if you have the momentary lapse of reasoning and decide to purchase, open and eat this chemical ‘meat’).  If you are looking to support your thyroid function with iodine and eat dried seaweed, and you’ll also find them in most new purses, shoes and electronics.


These little packets are placed into these items to keep them moisture-free.

Are they toxic?

According to the FDA “Silica Gel is non-toxic and recognized as a “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe)”.   According to the Poison control center “Silica is non-toxic” and states “Do not eat because it is not food and can be a choking hazard”.  Alone, Non-indicating (white) silica gel is non-toxic, non-flammable and chemically unreactive. However, Self-indicating (blue) beads may have a moisture indicator added, such as cobalt chloride, which is toxic and can be carcinogenic. Cobalt chloride tuens pink when moist.

Do they work?

Yup. A fun stat: Silica gel can hold 40% of it’s weight in moisture!

Toss or reuse?

They can be used to decrease moisture (and smell!) in your locker, shoes and sneakers (or “tennis shoes” for those of you not from New England).  They are great for that moment when you drop your cell phone in a puddle, sink or toilet (you all know someone this has happened to!).  Supposedly they are also great for slowing down the tarnish on your silverware (I say supposedly because I don’t have much silver and can’t say I would’ve thought to do try this).

Do they expire or stop working?

If you decide not to “THROW AWAY” as the packets suggest and use them, you can recharge them in the oven if their moisture-sucking runs low. Simply spread the silica gel beads (removed from paper packets) on a cookie sheet on parchment paper and bake at 300°F for a few hours.  After cooled down, place the silica gel in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them again.

So the next time you are fussing around trying to get your vitamins out around the packet, keep in mind this packet can be kept, tossed out to decrease frustrations or can be saved (you know, reduce, reuse, recycle) for something else in your home.

Here’s to your happier, healthier life!

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