How Much UMF is Enough in Manuka Honey?

One crucial factor determining the potency of Manuka honey is its Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating. UMF is a grading system used to measure the antibacterial activity of manuka honey.

In this article, we’ll explore the optimal UMF rating to ensure you’re reaping the full benefits of this extraordinary honey.

how much UMF is enough illustration

What is the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)?

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) is a grading system developed by the UMF Honey Association in New Zealand to evaluate the quality and purity of Manuka honey.

The UMF rating measures the concentration of three key compounds: Leptosperin, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and Methylglyoxal (MGO). These compounds contribute to Manuka honey’s antimicrobial and therapeutic properties, and the higher the UMF rating, the more potent the honey.

What Determines a UMF™ Rating?

New Zealand Manuka honey. UMF™ ratings range from 5+ to 26+ and are based on the concentration of specific compounds found in Manuka honey, including Methylglyoxal (MGO) and Leptosperin.

The higher the UMF™ rating, the more potent the honey’s potential health benefits.

How much UMF is enough in Manuka Honey?

To answer the question “how much UMF is enough?”, it’s essential to consider the intended use and desired health benefits of Manuka honey.

  1. For general health and wellness: If you’re looking to incorporate Manuka honey into your daily routine for its overall health benefits, a UMF rating of 10+ to 15+ is ideal. This range ensures that you’ll receive a moderate level of therapeutic compounds without breaking the bank.
  2. For immune system support: If you want to boost your immune system or fend off colds and flu, opt for Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 15+ to 20+. This higher concentration of active compounds provides a more potent antibacterial effect, supporting your body’s natural defenses.
  3. For wound care and skin conditions: When using Manuka honey to treat wounds, burns, or skin conditions like eczema and acne, a UMF rating of 20+ to 25+ is recommended. This potent honey can help to reduce inflammation, promote healing, and combat infection-causing bacteria.
  4. For digestive health: Manuka honey can help soothe digestive issues, such as acid reflux, gastritis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). A UMF rating of 15+ to 20+ is recommended for addressing these gastrointestinal concerns, as it offers an optimal balance between potency and palatability.

Ensuring Your Manuka Honey is Genuine

Not all New Zealand Manuka honey has to be UMF™ graded, but if your honey is UMF™ graded, you can be sure you’re getting the real deal. Look for the UMF™ trademark and certification on the packaging to ensure you’re purchasing genuine Manuka honey. You can also check for independent testing and certifications from the manufacturer.

What are the differences between UMF and MGO?

UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) and MGO (methylglyoxal) are both measures of the antibacterial potency of manuka honey, but they differ in a few ways.

UMF is a grading system that takes into account the levels of several different chemical markers that contribute to the honey’s antibacterial activity. These markers include MGO, but also other compounds like leptosperin and dihydroxyacetone (DHA). The UMF rating indicates the overall level of antibacterial activity in the honey, and is calculated using a standardized testing method.

MGO, on the other hand, is a specific compound that is found in high levels in manuka honey. It is believed to be the primary contributor to the honey’s antibacterial properties. MGO levels are measured directly in the honey, and the higher the MGO level, the stronger the antibacterial activity.

While UMF takes into account multiple factors that contribute to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey, MGO is a direct measure of one specific compound. Both UMF and MGO are used to determine the quality and potency of manuka honey, and the choice of which one to use may depend on individual preference or the requirements of a particular application.

Is UMF or MGO better?

Neither UMF nor MGO is inherently “better” than the other – both are reliable measures of the antibacterial potency of manuka honey, but they approach the evaluation of honey in slightly different ways.

UMF considers several factors that contribute to the honey’s antibacterial activity, including MGO and other compounds like leptosperin and DHA. This makes UMF a more comprehensive measure of the honey’s quality, and some people prefer it for that reason. Additionally, UMF is a grading system that provides a range of values, which can be useful for distinguishing between kinds of honey with similar levels of antibacterial activity.

MGO, on the other hand, is a direct measure of a specific compound that is believed to be the primary contributor to the honey’s antibacterial properties. Because of this, some people prefer MGO as a more straightforward and objective measure of the honey’s quality. MGO levels are often reported on honey labels, making it easy for consumers to compare different brands and products.

UMF VS MGO Side by Side Comparison

UMF StrengthMGO Range
UMF 5+83-100
UMF 10+263-356
UMF 15+514-696
UMF 20+829-1200
UMF 25+1201-1700
UMF 30+>1700

Conclusion

Understanding the UMF™ rating system can help you make an informed decision when selecting the ideal Manuka honey for your needs. By choosing a product with the appropriate UMF™ rating, you’ll be able to enjoy the unique health benefits and potential antibacterial properties this extraordinary honey has to offer. Remember to always consult your doctor before using Manuka honey for medicinal purposes.

Clinical Nutritionist

Cara Hayes is an experienced natural health practitioner with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Sydney. She has been writing for New Zealand Honey since 2020 and loves manuka in her morning tea.