Bodybuilder mom dies from consuming too much protein, proving anything in excess is dangerous
Whether you're a carnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, there's a basic nutritional understanding that you should be consuming a decent amount of protein every day. But is it possible to consume too much? Apparently so, because a mother and bodybuilder died after having an excessive amount of protein. According to reports, Meegan Hefford was found unconscious in her Western Australia apartment and pronounced dead days later. Wait, how did this happen?
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According to Yahoo 7, Hefford's death was most likely not a result of consuming too much protein in her diet. Apparently she suffered from a rare condition called urea cycle disorder, which made it difficult for her body to break down protein properly. According to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation, urea cycle disorder is caused by a mutation that results in a deficiency of one of the six enzymes in the urea cycle, which can result in irreversible brain damage, coma or even death.
They symptoms for adults are pretty brutal and vary from episodes of disorientation, slurred speech, confusion, lethargy and delirium, and even stroke-like symptoms. It's awful.
What's especially unfortunate, is that Hefford's family only learned that she had this rare genetic disorder after her death. According to her mom, Hefford was consuming a lot of protein her last few weeks alive because she prepping for a body competition in September. Doctors suspect that all the protein she was consuming caused a rapid buildup of ammonia in her blood which eventually reached the brain.
Hefford was apparently eating "way too much protein," her mother Michelle White told PerthNow. She says she even warmed her daughter to stop working so much after learning that she was feeling "lethargic."
"I said to her, 'I think you're doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down," White said.
Fortunately, urea cycle disorder is incredibly uncommon, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lesson to be learned here. Hefford consumed protein in her diet, took protein shakes, as well as excessive supplements, and anything taken excessively including supplements can be harmful, especially when you already have some sort of health condition.
"Excess supplements can be more dangerous if someone already has health conditions, like renal impairment, but people won't necessarily know they have that, so that's why people need to be cautious and stick to the guidelines," Simone Austin, a sports dietician in Australia told PerthNow.
In fact, if you have any kind of health condition, you should probably check with your doctor before taking any kinds of supplements to be safe. You just never know and your health is never worth the risk.