Why Does Mainstream Medicine Reject Adrenal Support Supplements?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Many adrenal support supplements receive opposition from mainstream medicineQ: Adrenal Fatigue is not a medical diagnosis yet but it is being worked on. When it becomes a medical diagnosis, will it still be treated with adrenal support supplements or will there be pharmaceuticals that will be used?

A: Whenever Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome becomes a medical diagnosis, the pharmaceutical companies will jump in and offer medication for treatments. Because of their training biases, traditionally-trained physicians will continue to reject adrenal support supplements and fall back on what they see as scientifically proven medications. Even with the accumulating data from clinical studies regarding supplementation effectiveness, most of these studies do not meet the commonly accepted standards of scientific experimentation. This will support the existing biases of physicians.

Q: How important is it that mainstream medicine accepts supplemental use when there is positive data on the supplement?

A: It is not as simple as the mainstream medical professional accepting the data on supplements. There is a strong call for evidence based medicine, as well as pharmaceutical companies shelling out money for research on medicines which are more profitable for them than supplements. The evidence is there if people look in the right places. The key is actually the patient; if they do their own diligent research; they will be wiser as to what is the better choice for their own health – medications or supplements.

At issue here is also whether mainstream medicine will begin accepting the concept behind the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM model of interrelated organ systems. If physicians adopt this viewpoint, then they will be more likely to read and believe the accumulating data on supplements. Realizing the kind of relationship talked about in the NEM model will push them toward considering the value of nutrients as fuel the body uses for its many operations and the need for increases in those nutrients. Increases in the form of supplements.

Another issue in this controversial topic has to do with traditionally-trained physicians not getting trained in supplements – including adrenal support supplements, their effectiveness, and their uses. This leads to a lingering bias among physicians toward medications with which they’re most familiar.

Q: Is Lysine good to take for herpes outbreaks?

A: Yes, you should take Lysine before the outbreaks. The key is to take it early, and in high doses, say 3000-5000 mg. Laboratory studies have shown lysine to inhibit arginine, an amino acid that seems to increase growth of the herpes virus. Taken before activities that might trigger herpes outbreaks, lysine appears to be effective in lessening the severity of outbreaks. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the journal Dermatologica showed lysine to be an effective treatment for herpes. Lysine also has other uses, particularly as one of the adrenal support supplements.

Your choice of adrenal support supplements and exposure to electromagnetic forces can be important in your recovery

Q: I know you should limit exposure to EMF when you have Adrenal Fatigue. I work on a computer all day and there are times where I am unable to leave my computer for hours at a time. What do you suggest I do to reduce EMF exposure when I’m unable to stand up or walk away from my computer?

A: You need to stand up and increase circulation. Just being 10 feet away from the monitor for 1 minute will allow the cells of the body to take a break and reset the internal EMF level. Drinking plenty of water will also help. Also grounding may help to shield some of the EMF away from your body.

Electromagnetic fields are all around us. Anywhere there is electricity, there are EMFs. These EMFs become sources of stress that clearly affect those with adrenal fatigue. In bodies already under stress that has led to adrenal fatigue, working and being exposed to EMFs increases stress and leads to more adrenal fatigue and the symptoms that come with the condition. This underlines the necessity of getting a break from the source of EMFs radiation where you work or live.

Although adrenal support supplements are important, maintaining proper exercise is also key

Q: Sometimes I feel really good when I’m working out, but I feel like I cannot push myself to the next level, in terms of jumping higher or putting more effort into the workout. Is there anything I can do help this?

A: Research has shown that 30 minutes of exercise daily are what you need each day. More than that may not be more beneficial. Those with AFS , however, usually can only tolerate much less. Pushing yourself to do more and more of whatever exercise you’re engaging in may be damaging to your health and trigger adrenal crashes. You may be causing damage to your heart, particularly if you’re engaging in cardio exercise. The idea is not to increase your exercise, but to make what you do more effective and at a level acceptable by your body. If you push yourself too hard, you may enter a catabolic state where your tissue breaks down. Too much cortisol may be secreted, leading to more catabolism and eventually to chronic disease states. The most serious possible result may be heart damage, including sudden cardiac arrest and death.

Dr. Lam’s Key Questions

There are many reasons why a person may not feel any difference in the supplements they take; it could be the quality, the quantity, taking the wrong kind of supplements or whatever you are putting in is not enough to battle your negative output in life.


  • Robyn Hope says:

    When does A.F. become a medical diagnosis?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Maybe in 30 years, may be never because of the lack of pathology but only clinical symptoms which can be very convoluted to the untrained eye.

      Dr Lam

  • Dr. K. says:

    1. I was referred to a respected old school endocrinologist. I asked him was there any laboratory evidence for “EXHAIUSTION (Burn out at work, told to take a vacation, depletion after an NFL game, etc). He said there was none. Then I asked him if there was any laboratory proof of FATIGUE (Post-surgical debilitation, etc). He admitted there was none. So why do we have to prove it in a lab?
    2. Then in discussing diabetes, he said the pancreas at one stage gets exhaustyed. I countered with “OK, then why can’t the Adrenals get exhausted too? Checkmate. He was silent.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      You hit it on the nail. Medicine’s ways sometimes are brilliant, but other times are quite illogical. If you are concern with your health, the best is to take it into your own hands. Do your homework and let the truth that emerges guide you. Remember no science can convince a skeptical mind.

      Dr Lam.

  • Kathleen Redman says:

    I visited your site for the first time earlier this week. I signed up to receive the newsletter but there is no link for downloading the 21 page book.

    • Tim says:

      Hello Kathleen,

      Thank you for that information. Please note that you will not receive the link to download in your email, but rather on the thank you page for signing up with us. I’ve sent the link to your account, which you can access by clicking on this link.