An Australian bodybuilding mother of two has reportedly died of a protein overdose. After days of feeling “tired” and “weird”, the young woman passed away from ingesting too much protein and her family is now calling for the regulation of supplements.
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.
According to Nutrition Australia, some athletes, such as strength trained or endurance athletes, often need more protein than others, “with requirements of 1.2g-1.6g per kilogram of body mass per day”. However, they also say that “such intakes can generally be achieved by the overall increased food intake required to fuel training,” Nutrition Australia’s website states.
Hefford spent a lot of her time focusing on her body and taking supplements while closely monitoring her diet. She was studying paramedicine while working part-time at a hospital, but that isn’t good enough for her family. They are calling for more government regulations on protein now after Hefford’s death. Why don’t we just tell them how that’ll go now. Take a look at the opioid epidemic (a heavily regulated product) for a small hint as to how increasing government control of anything will look.
Of course, we are sorry for this families loss, but taking away the rights of others to use protein supplements won’t bring back their beloved family member, and it won’t save any lives. “I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in a hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White said. “The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”
Hefford left behind a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.
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