umf vs mgo

UMF vs MGO Understanding the Grades of Manuka Honey


Navigating the world of Manuka Honey can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding the grading systems used to determine its quality and potency. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Manuka Honey grading systems, specifically UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) and MGO (Methylglyoxal), and explore what these grades really mean for your jar of liquid gold. So, let’s begin our journey together and unravel the significance of these grading systems for Manuka Honey enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

UMF (Unique Manuka Factor)

What is UMF?

UMF, or Unique Manuka Factor, is more than just a label on a jar of Manuka Honey. It is a quality assurance mark that guarantees you are getting genuine, high-quality Manuka Honey from New Zealand. UMF is a comprehensive measure that takes into account various natural compounds found in Manuka Honey, such as Methylglyoxal (MGO), Leptosperin, and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which are responsible for its health benefits.

How is UMF Measured?

The UMF grading system is backed by rigorous scientific research. Each batch of Manuka Honey undergoes stringent testing in independent laboratories to determine its UMF rating. The higher the UMF number, the greater the concentration of beneficial compounds, making the honey more potent and often more expensive.

Components Involved in UMF Grading

The UMF rating is derived from the concentration of MGO, Leptosperin, and DHA. MGO is particularly important as it is the compound mainly responsible for the honey’s antibacterial properties. Leptosperin and DHA also contribute to the honey’s authenticity and quality.

UMF Rating Scale and Its Significance

The UMF rating scale ranges from UMF 5+ to UMF 32+. Each level indicates a specific concentration of MGO and other compounds. For example, UMF 10+ means the honey contains at least 263 mg of MGO per kg. The higher the number, the stronger the honey, catering to different preferences and needs.

MGO (Methylglyoxal)

What is MGO?

MGO, or Methylglyoxal, is a naturally occurring compound found in varying concentrations in Manuka Honey. It is responsible for the honey’s antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. While MGO is present in other types of honey, its levels in Manuka Honey are exceptionally high due to the nectar of the Manuka flower.

How is MGO Measured?

MGO is quantified in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of honey. For example, a jar labeled with MGO 400+ contains at least 400 mg of Methylglyoxal per kilogram of honey. This measurement is determined through lab tests, ensuring the honey’s potency matches the label.

The Role of MGO in Manuka Honey

MGO is the powerhouse behind Manuka Honey’s ability to fight off bacteria and boost the immune system. It is the reason why Manuka Honey is often recommended for wound care, digestive issues, and as a natural remedy for infections. However, it is important to note that while MGO is a crucial factor, other compounds like Leptosperin and DHA also contribute to the honey’s overall efficacy.

MGO Rating Scale and Its Significance

The MGO rating scale ranges from MGO 30 to MGO 1000 or more. The higher the number, the more potent the honey’s antibacterial properties. For example, an MGO rating of 100+ is suitable for general well-being, while an MGO 550+ is considered highly potent and more suitable for specific therapeutic uses.

Comparison of UMF and MGO Grading Systems

It is important to note that both UMF and MGO grading systems provide valuable information about the quality and potency of Manuka Honey. However, there are some key differences between the two.

  • UMF takes into account a broader range of natural compounds, including MGO, Leptosperin, and DHA, while MGO focuses solely on the concentration of Methylglyoxal.
  • UMF offers a more comprehensive measure of Manuka Honey’s health benefits, while MGO provides a more specific measure of its antibacterial properties.
  • UMF has a wider rating scale (UMF 5+ to UMF 32+), allowing for more nuanced distinctions in potency, while MGO has a narrower scale (MGO 30 to MGO 1000+).

Ultimately, the choice between UMF and MGO grading systems depends on personal preferences and specific health needs. Some individuals may prefer the more comprehensive assessment provided by UMF, while others may find the specific focus of MGO more suitable for their needs.


Understanding the grading systems of Manuka Honey, such as UMF and MGO, is crucial for both long-time aficionados and curious newcomers. These grading systems provide valuable information about the quality, potency, and authenticity of the honey, helping you make an informed choice based on your health and taste preferences. Whether you opt for UMF or MGO, both systems offer reliable measures of Manuka Honey’s beneficial properties. So, embark on this fascinating journey into the world of Manuka Honey and discover the liquid gold that awaits you. Trust me, it’s a journey worth taking.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top