Employee Spotlight: Gene Bruno, Senior Director of Product Formulation
At NutraScience Labs, we are proud to have an experienced team that is passionate about the dietary supplement industry and helping brand owners manufacture high-quality nutraceutical products.
Keeping with this theme, we wanted to "lift the curtain" this month and put the spotlight on Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG). In addition to being our resident professor of nutraceutical sciences (no, he actually IS a professor), Gene currently serves as the award-winning Senior Director of Product Formulation for TLCC Health Brands, including NutraScience Labs.
What motivated you to enter the dietary supplement industry?
Decades ago, my grandmother was cured of her lymphosarcoma after having been given six months to live by her doctors. Her successful treatment consisted of detoxification, juicing a highly nutritious diet and the use of a few dietary supplements available at the time (collectively known as the “Gerson therapy”). When I was old enough to understand the significance of this, I became very curious and wanted to learn more about the impact that nutrition and related therapies could have on human health and disease. In turn, this led me down the path to dietary supplements, and the profound effect they can have in promoting health and wellness.
You've worked in the dietary supplement space for 41 years. What is it about the industry that "brings you back for more"?
From the first time that one of my product recommendations really helped make a difference in a customer's life, I was hooked. The high I felt from helping people help themselves was the best thing ever! I love this industry and the good we can do for individuals and society as a whole when we produce well-researched, high-quality products. Conversely, it saddens me when I see poorly formulated, garbage supplements that give the industry a bad name.
Without naming names, what's the most challenging project you've worked on during your career and why?
The most challenging (and in some ways the most rewarding) project was responding to a specific group of lawyers who were suing a vitamin company for the sole purpose of making money. Their scientific premise for the lawsuit was so incredibly inaccurate, that it made me angry while concurrently making me glad I had the opportunity to tear it apart, pointing out the falsehoods they were perpetuating. The whole process took months and required a lot of back in forth, but in the end, they got nothing!
Related Content: Do you know the difference between creatine and whey protein? Gene explains what distinguishes these two popular sports nutrition ingredients in his latest podcast. Click below to listen!
What's the biggest shift you've observed in the dietary supplement industry over the last 5 years?
The biggest shift, or perhaps the one that is most meaningful to me, is the trend toward using clinically relevant doses of nutraceuticals in products. In other words, creating formulas that are based on science and have greater potential to be effective.
What's your advice for someone that's thinking about starting a dietary supplement brand?
There’s lots of ways to make money. If, to you, selling supplements is just selling widgets, this isn’t the business for you. Get into the dietary supplement industry because it’s important to you and you want to do it right—and then do it right! Work with people, companies and contract manufacturers who know the business well, and can advise you appropriately. Make certain that your products have the potential to help people and make a difference in their lives.
So, on that note - what do you believe distinguishes NutraScience Labs from other dietary supplement contract manufacturers?
Service—first and foremost. Whether your brand is new or well-established, working with a contract manufacturer who answers all of your questions in a timely manner and can help you at every step of the process makes all the difference in the world.
From new formulation ideas to logistics, I’ve consistently seen NutraScience Labs function as the quintessential one-stop shop for so many brands. There’s a reason why NutraScience Labs has won multiple industry awards.
You and your family recently moved to The Sunshine State? Now that you don’t have to contend with the snow and the ice, what’s your favorite activity to do together?
Swimming! My wife Kathy was on the swim team when she was in high school, and she’s a really good swimmer. We enjoy using our pool and relaxing after a long day at work.
Word on the street is that you "dabble" a bit in the art of karaoke. What's your favorite song to perform when you're on stage?
Dabble? How dare you! We go to karaoke two or three times a week! 😊 Actually, I don’t have a single favorite song, but one that I do enjoy performing is “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera. I like doing this song because it's very dramatic, allows the singer to show off a broad vocal range, and generally gets a good audience response. Let’s face it, most people who do karaoke not only enjoy singing, but they also like the applause!
To get more nutraceutical industry insights from Gene, be sure to check out his podcast episodes on our YouTube Channel!