An Australian bodybuilder and mother of two died due to a combination of factors, including a rare condition she suffered from and her overconsumption of protein, according to Perth Now.
Meegan Hefford, 25, was reportedly found unconscious in her apartment by a real estate agent conducting a rental inspection on June 20. She passed away in Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia just two days later.
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The young mom had reportedly been taking fitness supplements, drinking large quantities of protein shakes and eating protein-rich foods to train for an upcoming bodybuilding competition in September.
A post shared by • MEEGAN HEFFORD • (@meeganheff) on Mar 27, 2017 at 2:55am PDT
A few months prior to her death, Hefford had told family members that she had begun feeling lethargic and "weird."
Although they cautioned her to ease up on her fitness program, Hefford still kept her eyes on the prize.
"I said to her, 'I think you're doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down'," Michelle White, the victim's mother, told Perth Now.
Unknown to Hefford, she was suffering from a rare genetic condition called a urea cycle disorder, which stops the body from properly breaking down protein.
The condition, which affects just one in 8,000 people, combined with the mass amounts of protein she was consuming caused a build-up of ammonia in Hefford's blood and accumulation of fluid in her brain.
By the time doctors were able to diagnose her condition, she had already been declared brain dead.
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Her death certificate lists "intake of bodybuilding supplements" as one of the causes of death, as well as her previously undiagnosed urea cycle disorder.
Her mother told Perth Now that she hopes her daughter's death can serve as a wake-up call for the supplements industry and possibly even act as a catalyst to bring about tighter regulations to prevent similar tragedies.
"I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in the hospital because they've overloaded on supplements," White said. "The sale of these products needs to be more regulated."