Meegan Hefford, a mother of two from Australia, died last month after an overdosing on protein shakes, supplements and other protein-rich foods.
The story has gone viral due to the unusual reason behind Hefford’s tragic passing.
The 25-year-old from Mandurah, Australia was discovered post-mortem to have a urea cycle disorder, which blocks the body from correctly breaking down protein.
Prior to her death, Hefford was getting herself ready for a bodybuilding competition in September, consuming various protein supplements as part of her training, according to her her mother, Michelle White, per Perth Now.
Hefford had told her mom in June that she was feeling tired and “weird.”
Soon afterward, she was found unconscious in her apartment 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 ramping up her gym routine in the weeks before her death.
Her final cause of death was ruled an “intake of bodybuilding supplements” in addition to the undiagnosed illness, reports the aforementioned Australian publication.
“I said to her, ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down,” White said told the newspaper about her daughter.
By the time physicians diagnosed Hefford’s condition on June 19, the buildup of ammonia in her blood and fluid in her brain was too much for her to handle.
Her family is now calling for tighter restrictions on protein supplements.
White says she wasn’t aware her daughter was using protein shakes or supplements until after Hefford’s death, when she found half a dozen containers of protein shakes in her child’s kitchen.
White also says the supplements and shakes were purchased online where there are not enough restrictions, which is why she wants new legislation to be passed in this area.
“I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White told Perth Now.
“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 kids, a seven-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son.
"There was just no way of knowing she had [her illness] because they don’t routinely test for it," said White. "She started to feel unwell, and she collapsed."
What a tragic development.
May Meegan Hefford rest in peace.