UNAIR NEWS – Not long ago there was an appeal through social media that the public should not consume turmeric and curcuma for a while because of the curcumin content in them. The appeal was based on scientific articles which state that curcumin can increase the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2 enzyme).
In another scientific article, it was stated that the ACE2 enzyme is a receptor of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCov-2) that causes Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID 19). Thus, it is feared that eating turmeric and curcuma can pose greater risk to be infected with the SARSCov-2 virus.
Universitas Airlangga herbal expert Prof. Dr. Mangestuti Agil, MS., Apt. argued that the appeal did not have a strong scientific foundation. So, further research is needed to prove it.
Prof. Manges explained that the ACE2 enzyme is an enzyme that mediates angiotensin changes. Angiotensin itself is a hormone that is needed to constrict blood vessels resulting in an increase in blood pressure.
“It (angiotensin, ed) is part of the regulation of blood pressure,” said Prof. Manges.
According to her, several previous studies have proven that the ACE2 enzyme is a place to enter several types of Corona Virus into the cells of the human body. Corona virus including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARSCov) causes SARS disease. In several studies also identified the entry of SARSCov-2 (the virus that causes COVID19) through the same door, ACE2.
Meanwhile, the appeal to avoid turmeric and curcuma consumption starting from the results of a study on the role of curcumin in heart fibrosis disorders. The results of the study mentioned that curcumin can inhibit the formation of myocardial fibrosis through modulation of ACE2 expression.
“With the results of research that says curcumin can modulate the expression of ACE2, some parties state that curcumin makes it easy for COVID19 to enter the cell,” said the lecturer of UNAIR Faculty of Pharmacy.
The results of research on the cardiac organ indeed show the work of curcumin through the modulation of ACE2 expression. However, the SARSCov-2 virus infects the pulmonary organs. Therefore, special research needs to be done to answer whether the administration of curcumin in lung cells accelerates the entry of germs and viruses, including the SARSCov-2 virus.
And because the research was carried out in the heart, then the receptors that were examined might be receptors found in blood vessels. This is different from SARSCov-2, whose receptors are in the lungs.
Moreover, curcumin is just one of the many components of the chemical content of turmeric. What is consumed by humans is turmeric, not curcumin.
“What is certain is that research on turmeric, ginger, curcuma proved to show the work of the ingredients as an immune system booster,” she said.
Prof. Manges continued, the consumption of spices such as curcuma and turmeric has become a tradition of Asian people, including Indonesia as they make a healthy body. Strong immunity will help the body to fight germs and viruses that attack cells of the human body. A strong immune system will minimize or eliminate the chance of the virus getting into our cells.
“Therefore I declare at this time that curcuma, turmeric, and ginger do not have the potential to facilitate transmission of COVID19. These ingredients can even help improve human immunity, including through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, so they are not susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, ” she concluded.
Prof. Manges also provides some tips to improve immunity:
- Improve endurance through super healthy living patterns
- Eat complete nutritious food, including milk and eggs
- Eat a variety of spices because of their chemical content, regularly but not too much. For example, a cup of ginger drink every evening.
- Consider eating at least 5 dates every day directly or in the form of infused water.
- Consume black cumin capsules purchased from reputable sellers to ensure authenticity and heed the instructions for use.
- Drink enough water
- Maintain cleanliness
- Avoid the crowds and perform social distancing as optimal as possible
Galuh Mega Kurnia
Binti Q. Masruroh