MGO: Why The Numbers Matter

    Manuka honey has gained enormous popularity in recent years due to its unique medicinal health benefits. But what exactly makes Manuka honey special? The answer lies in a specific naturally-occurring bioactive compound called MGO, or methylglyoxal. 

    Manuka honey is recognised for its distinctly high concentration of MGO. Known as a supercharged healing agent, MGO levels in Manuka vary between each harvested batch. The higher the MGO rating, the stronger its antimicrobial bioactivity levels and more potent the natural medicinal benefits. 

    In this article, we delve into the MGO numbers, exploring what they mean, why they vary, and how to know which level is best for you. 

    What is MGO in Manuka honey

    MGO is a natural antibacterial and bioactive compound found in honey. It is derived from dihydroxyacetone (DHA)- a substance found in the nectar of Manuka flowers - and is responsible for many of the distinct healing properties found in Manuka. 

    As Manuka honey matures, the DHA is converted into MGO. When the ratio of DHA to MGO is 1:1, the MGO has completed aging.

    Because MGO strength naturally increases over time, Biosota matures our Manuka honey for 12 - 24 months following harvest before bottling. It's essential we do this at appropriate temperatures, to preserve optimal bioactivity levels and ensure it maintains its premium quality.

    Understanding how MGO is graded

    The MGO grading system is based on the measurement of MGO levels in honey, with the rating indicating the potency of the honey. The higher the MGO rating, the greater the concentration of MGO in the honey.

    MGO ratings on labels indicate how much methylglyoxal is present in 1kg of the product. For example, a rating of MGO 1200+ means there is 1200mg of MGO in 1kg of honey. 

    What determines this rating? It’s a combination of factors, including the amount of DHA in the Manuka nectar, the extent of the Manuka bloom, and the behaviour of bees (whether they gather nectar only from Manuka flowers or forage from others as well). As a result, the MGO rating of Manuka honey can vary from batch to batch.

    How do MGO levels vary in terms of medicinal benefits?

    The MGO grading system typically ranges from a very low concentration of MGO 30 (everyday honey with a hint of Manuka in it) all the way through to MGO 2100+, which is almost pure Manuka, comprising significant therapeutic benefits. 

    Here at Biosota, we consider strengths of MGO 260+ and above to be a reliable indication that there are pure concentrations of Manuka nectar present. This is also where the antibacterial qualities of the MGO take effect. 

    For medicinal purposes we recommend our superior-strength, high MGO rated Manuka honey collection (MGO 1000 - 2100+). Available only in limited quantities, these editions are extremely rare and exceptionally potent.

    To ensure genuine authenticity of our MGO ratings, each batch of our pure Australian Manuka is tested at independent laboratories before packaging to guarantee it contains high levels of MGO activity.

    The benefits of high MGO levels in Manuka honey

    Superior-strength, high MGO Manuka honey offers a myriad of benefits to support your overall health and well-being. Its antibacterial properties help fight against infections, especially those caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

    Applied topically it assists with the healing of wounds, burns and skin ailments. Consumed orally, it’s a natural supplement for maintaining good gut health and beneficial in combating cold and flu symptoms.

    How to choose the right MGO Manuka honey for your needs

    If you’re looking to harness the full potential of Manuka honey for therapeutic purposes, we recommend a higher MGO rating. MGO levels from 880+ provide more potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting effects. 

    Here is a useful chart outlining the different MGO grades in Manuka honey and our suggested medicinal usage.

    Manuka Guide Chart


    When choosing the right Manuka honey for you, it’s important to consider your specific needs and intended use. For everyday wellness, skincare and general health benefits, a lower MGO rating may suffice. 

    However, if you are targeting a particular health issue or seeking more powerful healing properties, we recommend you opt for a higher MGO rating, with potent medicinal qualities.

    Biosota’s high MGO-rated Manuka honey is cultivated by nature with science, love and generations of beekeeping expertise. Discover the benefits of our superior-strength high MGO medicinal Manuka honey today.

    Further Reading:

    What is MGO in Manuka honey?

    From hive to lab to jar: Australian Manuka honey

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published