A bodybuilding competitor and mom of two reportedly died June 22 from a protein overdose, according to Perth Now.
Meegan Hefford, a 25-year-old from Mandurah, Australia, was discovered to have a urea cycle disorder, which blocks the body from correctly breaking down protein.
Hefford was preparing for a bodybuilding competition in September and consuming various protein supplements, her mother, Michelle White, tells Perth Now. Hefford had told her mom in June that she was feeling tired and “weird.”
“I said to her, ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down,” White said.
Hefford was found unconscious in her apartment on June 19 and rushed to the hospital, where it took doctors two days to diagnose her with urea cycle disorder. By that point, the buildup of ammonia in her blood and fluid in her brain was too much, and she was declared brain dead the next day.
Coroners listed “intake of bodybuilding supplements” as one of Hefford’s causes of death, along with the disorder.
Her family is now calling for tighter restrictions on protein supplements.
“I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White said. “The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”
Hefford was studying paramedicine while working part-time at a hospital. She leaves behind her two children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.