When searching for the best Manuka Honey you may be wondering what is the difference between MGO vs UMF ratings. You have come to the right place!
Manuka Honey has widely been known for its medicinal properties. When searching for quality Manuka Honey it is important to understand the labeling on Manuka Honey products.
The labels on Manuka products may vary by company and can be confusing at first. As a Holistic Nutrition Specialist, I have found that it is important to learn to read and understand the labels on products.
When I first began learning about Manuka and the various rating systems, I was confused too! So hang in there, and I will help demystify these labels!
Different Manuka honey producers use varying rating systems that help to differentiate between the grades and potency of each batch. Below, we will help you understand MGO vs UMF rating systems.
This article is for informational purposes only. Before making any changes to your healthcare routine, be sure to discuss it with a qualified healthcare professional. As a holistic nutrition specialist, it is my intention to provide information about holistic nutrition topics that may be beneficial for some. Always discuss changes with a doctor who knows your unique situation.
Cost of Manuka
When we first began searching for Manuka Honey we noticed the price tag is much higher than other brands of honey. This is because it comes from only one country and one tree.
Also, there are specific certifying systems like UMF and MGO that were designed to help consumers know that what they are receiving is genuine and potent Manuka Honey.
When reporting to these regulating companies recognized by the New Zealand government, suppliers must pay a good amount of money in order to undergo rigorous testing and obtain the official and appropriate certifications and ratings.
Consequently, this cost also gets passed down to the consumer. Many who purchase Manuka Honey understand the reason for these extra costs and find it well worth the investment to know that what you are buying is authentic.
Importance of Rating System
Many less-than-reputable companies have found loopholes in the labeling regulations system. Tapping into the confusion, they can get away with unscrupulous practices selling products that seem more potent than they are for higher prices.
Therefore, it is important to understand the basics when searching for an authentic Manuka Honey product that is right for your needs.
One reassuring thing to know is that UMF and MGO are both ratings that indicate a genuine Manuka product. They both just show the measurements of different aspects of Manuka relating to the naturally occurring compound methylglyoxal content (MGO). But first, very briefly-what is Manuka?
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is a potent honey that comes from the nectar of flowers from one very specific Manuka bush. The scientific name of this plant is Leptospermum scoparium. The Manuka bush grows only in New Zealand.
Its flavor and scent are very unique while its healing properties are vast. Bees that pollinate the Manuka flowers do so typically in early summertime.
Its most popular use is for its antibacterial and wound-healing properties that can even fight and kill staphylococcus aureus and MRSA! It also has anti-viral properties when used internally and externally.
If you are looking for superior immune health support, look no further than Manuka Honey. These signature compounds’ health benefits make them a helpful remedy for sore throats, skin infections, viruses, eczema, and more.
Because of this, many other types of honey can be very beneficial for many colds and infections as long as it is raw because heat destroys many of its healing properties. For another potent antibacterial honey, read this article comparing buckwheat honey vs manuka honey.
*NOTE: When searching for any type of honey from any origin and for any purpose, it is important to always buy RAW and unfiltered honey.
Honey that is not raw, has been heated above 116 degrees Fahrenheit. When heated, honey turns to pure sugar and most if not all of its multitude of natural properties diminish.
Manuka honey on the other hand has been discovered to contain much more potent antibacterial activity than regular honey.
The non-peroxide activity (aka antimicrobial activity) found in Manuka honey is directly related to its methylglyoxal (MGO) content along with other supportive and beneficial components within the honey itself.
What is MGO?
Methylglyoxal is a naturally occurring compound in Manuka honey that is directly related to the potency of antibacterial activity in each batch. Many of the beneficial compounds in MGO are unique to Manuka honey.
An MGO rating system is used to test the methylglyoxal level in each batch of honey and is assigned an MGO number.
This system was developed in 2008 by Professor Thomas Henle of the University of Dresden to help identify the potency of antimicrobial activity in Manuka honey.
What is UMF?
Unique Manuka Factor is a slightly older trademark established in New Zealand in 1998 to identify authentic Manuka honey.
UMF grading system tests MGO content levels as well as other key factors unique to Manuka honey. Leptosperin and dihydroxyacetone (DHA).
Leptosperin is unique to Manuka, therefore the presence of Leptosperin indicates a genuine product.
DHA is a precursor to MGO which means that it has the potential to turn into the prized MGO component when it combines with other naturally occurring components in the honey.
These three indicators go into play to receive UMF values from the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association.
Monofloral vs Multifloral
Many honey producers and harvesters isolate the Manuka flowers and bees in shaded areas from other flowers as best they can.
They do this to avoid or minimize the bees from pollinating the nectar from other flowers.
Scientists and producers prefer to isolate the bees that pollinate the nectar of the manuka plants in order to increase the concentration of their unique properties.
Manuka honey will still have many benefits and potency if the honey comes from bees who cross-pollinate, but the most potent antibacterial properties will come from monofloral manuka honey.
This is why you may notice the terms monofloral and multifloral manuka honey on your product labels.
UMF vs MGO Comparison
Both UMF and MGO individual grading systems using laboratory testing are recognized by the honey industry and the New Zealand government as reputable.
Both look at the level of methylglyoxal content with different methods of identifying indicators of concentration.
Accordingly, the numbers on the grading systems will vary. Below is a chart that helps to compare approximately the different grades.
|UMF 5+||MGO 85+|
|UMF 10+||MGO 256+|
|UMF 15+||MGO 514+|
|UMF 18+||MGO 696+|
|UMF 20+||MGO 829+|
What Grade Do I Need?
The quality of mānuka honey and the numbering grades are directly related. The higher rating indicates greater antibacterial effects.
UMF 5-13 is considered low quality Manuka honey. This is a perfect honey to use as a sweetener with mild health-boosting benefits.
UMF 13-16 is of higher strength and can be used for minor skin conditions and infections.
UMF 16-20 and higher is ideal for severe infections like staph, and MRSA. It has the highest concentration of antibacterial activity. (My family tends to keep a rating within this range in our medicine cabinets and it has worked quite well for us for many ailments!)
*Disclaimer: Always discuss treatment with a qualified healthcare professional, especially when dealing with serious infections.
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*The first indicator of genuine Manuka honey is its origin. Ensure that your honey is from a New Zealand company. Manuka flowers are only grown in New Zealand.
*A UMF trademark/UMF certificate or MGO grade is a good indicator that it is an authentic Manuka honey product. To receive these ratings, each batch of honey is tested for quality and potency by reputable companies recognized by the New Zealand government and the honey industry.
*If you are looking for antibacterial use, a minimum UMF rating of 16+ or an MGO rating of 550+ is ideal. The higher the rating, the more potent it is!
Have you tried Manuka Honey for its prized health benefits? Let us know in the comments below!
Have a healthy day!