Posts

Beauty starts from within – we all know that a healthy inside leads to a radiant outside and we share in that same DNA positioning as one of our favorite vitamin company, HUM Nutrition. Backed by science and substantiated clinical results, we had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Caspero | HUM RD Nutritionist, to learn more about the pulse behind the brand and what we can learn about how to incorporate wellness into our lives.

A little bit about Alexandra Caspero MA, RD, CLT, RYT: She is the owner of Delish Knowledge and author of Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation. Her award-winning blog, Delish Knowledge, focuses on making whole-food, vegetarian eating deliciously simple. Alex is the co-founder of Plant-Based Juniors, an evidence-based platform that helps parents navigate the world of plant-based prenatal and pediatric nutrition. Additionally, she is the co-author of Joyful Eating, Nourished Life, which helps others discover a happier, healthier relationship with food and their body. 

 

HUM has made such a splash within the beauty and wellness industry. Can you tell us how it all started?

It all starts with our passionate co-founders, Walter and Chris. Walter used to struggle with acne and once he started working with a nutritionist, they got to the root of the problem and he cleared his skin! This inspired him to develop a line of vitamins with the best nutrients to deliver on specific goals: gorgeous skin, lustrous hair, and overall better health.

What’s your best-selling product and it is the same as your favorite product within the line? 

We have a few best-selling products and one of my favorites is a new product that launched this year, Skin Heroes. Unlike most probiotics on the market, Skin Heroes contains both prebiotics and skin-specific probiotic strains that help decrease breakouts, create an even texture and tone, and hydrate the skin. In an in-house study, 88% reported a decrease in breakouts and 81% reported an improvement in digestion. 

What can we expect from using HUM products? Is there an overall goal in mind when creating the products? 

Everything HUM creates is designed with the customers needs in mind. Most of the supplements are geared toward beauty concerns, whether that’s stronger, healthier hair, firmer skin, reduced wrinkles or glowing skin. As beauty starts from within, nutrition is often the first line of defense in common beauty concerns. Other products are designed for overall wellness: multivitamins, detox herbs, adaptogens and products that support digestion. 

What does your typical wellness and beauty routine look like?

I’m a beauty minimalist; I wear make-up only when I have a TV interview or want to dress up for date-night. Therefore, I need my bare skin to look it’s absolute best. I rely on Red Carpet, a GLA supplement from HUM that’s helps with overall skin tone and reduces any redness. I’m also predominantly plant-based and strive to eat a diverse plant-based diet. That means that I aim to keep a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans/lentils, nuts, seeds and healthy plant-based fats. I occasionally enjoy an ice cream cone and potato chips, but aim to eat this way most of the time. This diet pattern is not only amazing for gut health, but it also keeps my skin looking radiant. In addition to being a dietitian, I’m also a yoga teacher and find that meditation is my saving grace; it keeps me focused on what’s important and able to cut through a lot of the noise that can be very distracting. 

How do you Detox (tips/rituals)? 

I aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day and typically do a face mask 2-3 times a week. As I mentioned above, I also focus on diversity of plants in my diet which provides plenty of fiber. Eating enough probiotic-rich fiber helps keep my digestion system moving and rid of toxins naturally. If there’s one piece of advice I could give when it comes to nutrition is that most of us are not eating enough fiber. The average American only eats 14g of fiber, which is less than half of the recommended amount. Consider that 70-80% of your immune system lives in your gut, and fiber is needed for a healthy gut! 

What advice can you offer people trying to transition into a more healthy and clean lifestyle? Are there any tips that you can offer on specific foods to avoid or must-have products to incorporate into our diet/regimen? 

As a dietitian, I prefer to meet people where they are at. For the vast majority of my clients, they aren’t eating enough plant foods so typically, I start there. That usually feels like an easier ask of people and they get to decide how that looks like with their taste and food preferences. That may mean swapping in more whole grains instead of refined ones, cutting back on animal-based foods or a fruit and vegetable intake challenge. Consider that only 1 in 10 Americans eat enough of the recommended produce amounts, this is usually an easy place to begin. 

Feeling healthy also goes beyond just diet. Focusing on water intake, sleep, stress and relationships are all part of individual wellness.

 

 Why is Vitamin D crucial in skincare?

In addition to being a key factor in skin cell growth and replacement, vitamin D also plays a major role in skin repair and protection. When microorganisms attack the skin, they secrete certain extracts that stimulate your skin to produce vitamin D. This vitamin D signals your skin’s innate immune system to start manufacturing a substance called cathelicidin, a very powerful germicide. Cathelicidin disrupts the integrity of bacterial cell membranes, resulting in the death of the microbes. Cathelicidin also helps promote the development of blood vessels and encourages new cell growth, both of which are essential for proper wound healing.

Your skin is also extremely susceptible to free radical damage because of its high rate of metabolism and fatty acid content. Free-radicals deteriorate your skin’s structural support and decrease its elasticity, resilience, and suppleness. In order to protect itself from this constant oxidative stress, your skin has a natural supply of antioxidants. One of the most powerful of these is vitamin D. In fact, Vitamin D has been shown to be more effective than vitamin E in reducing lipid peroxidation.

Technically speaking, vitamin D isn’t a true vitamin. A vitamin is defined as a substance that’s essential to daily life, which can’t be manufactured by the body. Since your skin can produce approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D after just 20-30 minutes of summer sun exposure, it doesn’t really fit the profile. Vitamin D more closely resembles a hormone than a vitamin. The active form of vitamin D, called calcitriol, is the most powerful hormone produced by the human body. It has the ability to activate over 2000 genes, many of which are involved in critical aspects of skin cell metabolism, growth, repair, and protection.

What is better for absorbing Vitamin’s D’s benefits for the skin? Topical application, oral supplement or the Sun? 

 Applying topical products, which contain Vitamin D, or getting Vitamin D from the sun is very different than taking a vitamin D oral supplement. Oral supplements have to be broken down in the stomach and then distributed throughout the body. The last place supplements will reach (if they even do) is the skin. This is why we recommend using topical products, which contain Vitamin D for, skin health.  However, oral supplementation of Vitamin D is crucial for internal health. You need to do all.

“Vitamin C is arguably the most important vitamin due to all its capabilities internally and externally.”

Dr. Goldfaden

Photo via @designlovefest

We know what vitamin C does for your skin, but it is also crucial for your body and that coveted glow! Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radicals, supports the immune system and helps make collagen in the body! Vitamin C has also been shown to lower LDL (the bad cholesterol), ward off heart disease and absorb iron in the body. But here comes the tricky part…Humans lack the ability to produce their own vitamin C. Because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, a large portion of the vitamin C we ingest gets excreted before our body can actually use it.

How much we need

Men need around 90 mg per day while women need 75mg. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you need anywhere from 85-120mg a day!

How to get it

Oral supplementation:

65-90mg per day should do the trick. Don’t take too much as it can interfere with the absorption of other crucial vitamins and upset the digestive system.

Eating foods rich in Vitamin C:

Red peppers, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, kale and fermented foods as mentioned in Health.com (kimchi or sauerkraut) all rank super high in vitamin C. A diet high in these fruits and vegetables will ensure glowing skin.