Honey is a proven, historic medicine offering a variety of reputed health and nutritional benefits. These benefits include, but are not limited to; antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and prebiotic. The purpose of the investigation undertaken by the British Journal of Nutrition (2009) was to determine the safety of the human consumption of Manuka Honey UMF 20+. The study was conducted on a number of healthy individuals, to determine whether or not the consumption of Manuka Honey UMF 20+ would trigger an allergic response, which is measured by the IgE levels, as well as distinguishing whether it would cause a dramatic change in the commensal and beneficial microbial groups in the gut, and/or influence the most common advanced glycation end points, N 1 –(carboxymethyl)- lysine (CML).
The study consisted of a randomised, double-blind crossover design to ensure an unbiased result, and was conducted on twenty healthy individuals between the ages of 42 and 64 years old. Two different types of Manuka honey were tested; one multiflora, and one UMF 20+, both produced by Comvita New Zealand Ltd (Te Puke, New Zealand). The test required that each participant consumes either the multiflora or UMF20+ each day over a four week duration period, with a two-week ‘washout’ period in between. Blood samples were then collected each week for each intervention period and were tested for IgE levels and advanced glycation endproducts – both a sign of methylglyoxal accumulation. Faecal samples were also collected at the beginning and end of each four week period. These were then analysed to determine the number of microbial groups in the gut, both beneficial and commensal. The result was conclusive that neither the multiflora, nor the UMF 20+ had affected the levels of IgE or CML, nor had it modified gut microbial profiles over the duration of the trial. Thus, confirming that the UMF 20+ is safe and harmless for healthy individuals consumption.