New Zealand Health Science Company and German University to set Manuka honey standards in wake of compound discovery

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A New Zealand honey health science company and a German university have joined forces in a bid to set industry standards for the use of manuka honey products to heal wounds, overcome stomach and skin problems, and potentially in the fight against cancer.

The next step is to put a standards process in place with the industry which independently certifies MGO levels in honey-based health products

A New Zealand honey health science company and a German university have joined forces in a bid to set industry standards for the use of manuka honey products to heal wounds, overcome stomach and skin problems, and potentially in the fight against cancer.

The move comes in the wake of the discovery by the university's researchers of the compound responsible for manuka honey's anti-bacterial activity.

Te Awamutu-based Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd and the Technical University of Dresden, Germany have formed a partnership to establish a process to certify levels of the compound in manuka honey.

Announcing the partnership today, Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul said the university's Institute of Food Chemistry was the first to identify the compound methylglyoxal (MGO) and prove its high levels in some New Zealand manuka honeys.

Mr Paul said the discovery that honey's anti-bacterial ability was directly related to MGO levels, was highly significant for the industry.

"We have known for some time that manuka honey has this property. The term Unique Manuka Factor is used to describe this honey's consistently reliable anti-bacterial effect and UMF has been trademarked by the Active Manuka Honey Association.

"But we haven't known until the German discovery what the compound is that is responsible.

"The next step is to put a standards process in place with the industry which independently certifies MGO levels in honey-based health products," he said.

Mr Paul said manuka honey was already well known for its reliable anti-bacterial activity, making it highly effective for overcoming gastro-intestinal and skin health problems and improving wound healing.

However, with the identification of MGO, further applications for manuka honey were possible, including use as a potential tumorcidal agent to fight cancer.

A research team led by Professor Thomas Henle, head of the Institute of Food Chemistry at Dresden, tested more than 80 honeys from around the world and found MGO levels as high as 700 mg/kg in some New Zealand manuka honeys, more than 70 times higher than ordinary honey. Previous research had shown the highest concentrations in any food or drink were about 100 mg/kg in cocoa and coffee.

Mr Paul said during their research, Professor Henle's team had developed assays for measuring MGO in honey.

Mr Paul said medical researchers had found MGO had the potential to act specifically against malignant cells in the body and has a significant curative effect on a wide range of cancers in animals.

Current research on humans shows MGO results in complete remission in about 40% of malignancies, with partial remission in another 40%. Further studies are underway to improve treatment techniques.

A Japanese cancer researcher at a German university hospital earlier this month announced the results of a study showing Manuka Health's Bio30 Propolis extract suppressed NF1 neurofibromatosis, a type of tumour affecting one in 3,000 people.

About Professor Henle:
Professor Dr Thomas Henle, Ph.D., Head of the Institute of Food Chemistry, is a world-leading chemist in understanding how carbohydrates in food change in response to certain conditions. He has published more than 80 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals since 1991.

Professor Henle is joint Editor in Chief of the journal "European Food Research and Technology", president of the German Society of Food Chemistry, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, and a referee of the German Research Society

About the Technical University of Dresden:
The Technical University of Dresden is one of the oldest and most prestigious German Universities, located in Saxony (http://tu-dresden.de)

The university's Institute of Food Chemistry is a world leader in food analysis, in particular analysis of compounds resulting from glycation reactions and carbohydrate degradation (a process which proteins and carbohydrates undergo during food processing and storage). The university's skill base attracts major multi-nationals to collaborate in research. New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra interchanges staff and students with the university to carry out research.

About Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd:
Manuka Health, based in Te Awamutu, New Zealand is one of the country's premier manufacturers of 100% pure New Zealand honey and top quality health care products.

The company prides itself on its ability to provide natural health products in keeping with the latest scientific research related to the use of Manuka honey in enhancing general health and wellbeing.
Manuka Health is an official UMF Trademark license holder.

UMF Manuka Honey from a New Zealand company licensed by the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) to use the name UMF, and labelled in the licensee's name, is the only honey guaranteed to have the special UMF healing property and be of the same quality as that referred to in the research and clinical trials. For more information please visit http://www.manukahealth.co.nz

For further information, please contact:

Nina Paul
Marketing Manager, Manuka Health
Phone: +64 7 870 6555
Fax: +64 7 870 6556

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