Meegan Hefford an Australian bodybuilder dies after ingesting too much protein leading up to a local competition. Family calls for stricter guidelines.
A report via Australia’s PerthNow told of Hefford, leading up to upcoming local competition ‘over-consuming’ protein shakes, supplements and protein-rich foods.
Hefford was found unconscious at her Mandurah apartment on June 19 and was quickly transported to the hospital where she was declared brain-dead. The 25 year old woman passed away two days later reported AP.
Hefford, who had been competing as a bodybuilder since 2014, was also ramping up her gym routine in the weeks before her death. Hefford, a 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.
Notes refinery29: ‘Urea cycle disorder is a rare genetic disorder caused by a mutation that results in a deficiency of one of the six enzymes in the urea cycle, according to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation. Symptoms can include disorientation, confusion, slurred speech, unusual and extreme agitation, stroke-like symptoms, lethargy, and delirium. It can occur in both newborn children (about 1 in 8,500 births) and adults, but it often goes undiagnosed because the disorder is mild enough that their bodies still seem to function normally.’
The inquest determined Hefford’s final cause of death the result of an ‘intake of bodybuilding supplements’ in addition to the undiagnosed illness.
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— Breaking News Perth (@perthbrk) August 14, 2017
Responding to the finding, Michelle White, Meegan Hefford’s mom, said she’d 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.’
As competition date neared, Hefford by now had started going to the gym twice a day to exercise.
At the time, Hefford had started complaining about feeling lethargic and experiencing fatigue told the bodybuilder’s mother.
Added the mother, ‘She didn’t look sick.’
White said 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.
Reiterated Hefford’s mother, ‘I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,’
Adding, ‘The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.’
No word yet if the Australian government intends to probe the online stores that sell to an avalanche of budding bodybuilders. That said the use of such products, supplements and body enhancing agents confers users practicing moderation and responsibility, particularly in light of pre existing conditions that users may not necessarily be aware of….