Meegan Hefford, a mother of two and bodybuilder, died after an overconsumption of protein shakes, supplements and protein-rich foods.
Hefford was found unconscious in her apartment in West Australia and was quickly transported to the hospital where she was declared brain-dead. She passed away two days later.
Hefford, who had been competing as a bodybuilder since 2014, was also ramping up her gym routine in the weeks before her death. The 25-year-old mom and paramedic trainee had put herself on a special restricted diet while she was preparing for a bodybuilding competition in September.
Upon her death, the doctors discovered Hefford had been living with a rare disorder – urea cycle disorder – which stops the body from being able to break down protein. The disorder can lead to fatal levels of ammonia in the bloodstream and excessive fluid on the brain.
Her final cause of death was ruled as an "intake of bodybuilding supplements" in addition to the undiagnosed illness, reported Perth Now.
Michelle White, Meegan Hefford’s mom, told the site that she warned her daughter to take it easy. “I said to her ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down.”
Hefford had started going to the gym twice a day to exercise, which her mom thought was the reason for the lethargy and fatigue that Meegan had complained about. White says she didn’t even know her daughter was using protein shakes or supplements until after Hefford’s death, when she discovered half a dozen containers of protein shakes in her daughter’s kitchen. White believes the supplements and shakes were purchased online where there are not enough restrictions, which she wants to end.
“I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White told PerthNow. “The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”