A female bodybuilder passed away after consuming too much protein, including shakes, supplements and food.
Meegan Hefford, 25 years old and mother of two, was found unconscious in her apartment in Western Australia, The New York Post reports. She was rushed to the hospital, but was declared brain dead. Hefford died two days after admittance.
Hefford had been an active bodybuilder, competing since 2014. She was scaling up on her gym routine in the weeks before her death. A paramedic trainee, Hefford was on a special restricted diet as she prepared for a bodybuilding competition coming up in September. Bodybuilders often take in a lot of protein in order to increase muscle mass.
When she died, doctors found that she had actually been living with a rare condition called urea cycle disorder. This prevents the body from properly breaking down protein, which can lead to dangerous levels of ammonia in the bloodstream and too much fluid in the brain. Hefford’s cause of death was listed as due to “intake of bodybuilding supplements,” aside from the undiagnosed condition.
Michelle White, Hefford’s mother, told Perth Now that she had cautioned her daughter against overdoing it. White said,
I said to her ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down.
White added that Hefford had been complaining for lethargy and fatigue, which White had attributed to her twice-a-day gym routine. She did not even know that her daughter was taking supplements and drinking protein shakes until Hefford’s death, when she found containers in Hefford’s kitchen. White believes the protein products were bought online, where regulations are not too strict.
She is now calling for better regulations on such items. “I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements. The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”