This question is about substances such as insulin and some vitamins that the human body is able to produce on its own.

Some substances that are produced by the body are also present in various body building supplements.

What I wanted to ask is, is there evidence that ingesting these types of substances for prolonged period leads to (permanent?) withering of the organs that produce the substance?

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    $\begingroup$ Is this question secretly about testosterone? $\endgroup$ – Resonating Feb 24 '15 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Resonating, no it is not, I was just curious about the effects of substances in general. $\endgroup$ – coderworks Feb 24 '15 at 22:08

Yes it is possible but in most cases it will not occur as the body simply halts production. The most infamous manifestation of this is in adrenal insufficiency. That's where when we take glucocorticoids (e.g. prednisolone used in management of lots of inflammatory diseases like asthma and autoimmune diseases) for a prolonged period at high dose. This causes the adrenal glands to atrophy (physically shrink) and following this sudden withdrawal can be dangerous for a patient. That's why we always slowly withdraw steroids when a patient has been on them for a long period of time.


Mostly no. For example, if a non-diabetic person were to be injected with a small amount of insulin, the pancreas would halt its own production of insulin and, if the dose was too large, begin producing glucagon, which stimulates the liver to produce more glucose to match the dose of insulin. If these periodic doses continue, the size of the islets in the pancreas may decrease, but it is always reversible and the beta cell count may return to normal if the doses cease, although it should be noted that a short period of "withdrawal" may occur. The intensity of this withdrawal will depend on how long the supplement was used and what the supplement is.


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