MGO Manuka Honey. What is Methylglyoxal? – by nutritionist Marianna Sulic

Manuka honey comes from the Manuka plant, which is native to the South and North islands of New Zealand.

In 1990 Professor Peter Molan at Waikato University in New Zealand discovered that certain Manuka honeys have additional stable antibacterial properties that do not exist in other honey. He was not though able to determine what exact component gives Manuka honey this specific unique property, therefore he coined the term UMF (unique manuka factor). It wasn’t until 2006 when Professor Thomas Henle from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany discovered very high levels of naturally occurring Methylglyoxal (MGO) in Manuka honey are responsible for its unique reliable anti-bacterial activity.

Discovery of methylglyoxal as the natural compound in Manuka honey that was responsible for its stable antibacterial activity was a milestone, a breakthrough for the industry.

Manuka honey is unique to other honeys as it contains high quantities of methylglyoxal (MGO) and it is the high levels of this anti-bacterial activity that makes Manuka honey beneficial to fight against colds and flu by eliminating pathogenic bacteria in the gut and also encouraging the growth of ‘good’ gut bacteria, which will help to fight infection and boost the immune system.

The MGO content ranges from MGO100+ to MGO550+, including a 250+ and 400+ available through Manuka Health. 100+ means there is 100mg of methylglyoxal per kg of manuka honey, 250+ means there is 250mg of methylglyoxal per kg of manuka honey and so forth.

The higher the MGO the higher the anti-bacterial activity, however although Methylglyoxal is important focusing only on ‘as high as possible’ methylglyoxal levels is not the full quality picture. Methylglyoxal occurs naturally up to approx. 600mg/kg. Higher levels correlate with a decline in quality and freshness which may be a result of sitting in storage for a few years or heavily heated, which damages important enzymes in the honey.

Manuka Health does not adulterate or heat their Manuka honey. The honey is never exposed to temperatures higher than in the beehive.

Manuka Health has always respected the wholefood properties of Manuka honey – our MGO™ Manuka Honey Quality System guarantees not just the methylglyoxal level, but also total quality and freshness.

I recommend taking 100+ as a preventative to maintain general well-being and a minimum of 250+ to fight colds and supporting digestive health. The best way to take Manuka honey is simply off the spoon, a 1tsp daily. Additionally, you can add a 1tsp of honey to a cup of warm tea.
Manuka Health set the standards in 2007 when they trademarked “MGO™ Manuka Honey” and established the MGO™ Manuka Honey Certification System, which was the first rating system based on the Methylglyoxal content of the honey.

Manuka Health’s quality system promotes transparency – they measure the methylglyoxal levels and put the minimum level on the label. The system also shows clarity for the consumers as it’s much easier to understand and remember than past rating systems. Lastly, it gives the customers confidence to know they are receiving exactly what the label claims.

Manuka Health’s MGO™ Manuka Honey science-based quality system is your guarantee of 100% New Zealand made premium quality manuka honey.

Sustainably sourced from our beehives in remote and pristine areas of New Zealand, every batch of MGO™ Manuka Honey is fully traceable from beehive to shelf.

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