April 2005 Americans are living longer, but for many men and women, the passage of time is less than kind. Fatigue. Changes in the skin. Weight gain, particularly around the midsection. Loss of libido. Mood swings. Decreased stamina. Disturbed sleep patterns. These complaints can be traced to the naturally occurring decrease in hormone production associated with aging. "While it is normal for the body to decrease production of certain hormones as we age, we don't have to accept that condition and those symptoms," said Dr. Gary C. Bernard, BodyLogicMD affiliated physician. "Patients are coming to us because they are not seeing benefits from conventional hormone replacement therapies which rely on synthetic hormones. BodyLogicMD hormones are effective because they are biologically identical to hormones produced by the body." BodyLogicMD is a network of physician-owned practices specializing in natural bioidentical hormone therapy integrated with fitness and nutrition. Dr. Bernard recently integrated BodyLogicMD into Pointe Medical Services, a comprehensive medical office and pharmacy dedicated to preventive medical care, at 1996 Kingsley Ave. in Orange Park. A graduate of Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn., Dr. Bernard completed his residency at the University of Florida's Shands Hospital in Jacksonville. Dr. Bernard is board certified in internal medicine and has studied and practiced hormone replacement and anti-aging therapies since obtaining his medical license. Synthetic hormones commonly used in other hormone replacement therapies were developed to act like the body's hormones but are not exact molecular reproductions. BodyLogicMD, however, prescribes FDA-approved bioidentical hormones. Although bioidentical hormones are produced in a laboratory, they are identical on a molecular level to the body's own hormones so they do not produce undesirable side effects. "BodyLogicMD included many of the fitness and nutrition principles I was already recommending for lifestyle changes," Dr. Bernard said. "It offers a more holistic way of treating patients and is very consistent with my own approach to practicing medicine. The keys to the program's success are patient involvement and clinical monitoring." Dr. Bernard said the specific hormones and dosages are based on each patient's profile. "We begin with a complete physical exam and an assessment of hormone levels," he said. "We prescribe the hormones in which the patient is deficient. It's extremely important to create a balance, or the correct ratio, of hormones. And we always start with a lower dosage, monitor the effects over several weeks and adjust as necessary. It can take several weeks to several months to see maximum benefit, but it's been my experience that most people begin to see a difference in a relatively short period of time." You can begin your journey back to good health online. Simply log onto www.bodylogicmd.com where you can begin a self-analysis. Throughout your treatment, you can manage and monitor your progress online. Or, you can call Dr. Bernard's office at (904) 276-5700 for more information and an appointment.