Bodybuilder's death caused by excessive protein shakes

Contact [email protected] to license this or any News Direct video
For story suggestions please contact [email protected]

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

A bodybuilder's death in western Australia is being blamed on an excessive intake of protein shakes.

Meegan Hefford, 25, was discovered unconscious in her Perth apartment on June 19, and was pronounced dead only a few days later, according to Yahoo 7 News.

Hefford had just begun a protein-rich diet and increased her gym workouts in preparation for an upcoming competition, according to her mother Michelle White.

Hefford, however, was unaware she suffered from urea cycle disorder, a rare genetic mutation.

A urea cycle disorder is caused by a mutation that leads to a deficiency in one of the six enzymes in the urea cycle, according to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation (NUCDF). These enzymes remove excess ammonia from the blood stream.

The urea cycle removes nitrogen, a waste product created during protein metabolism, from the blood and converts it into a compound called urea. The urea is transferred into the urine and excreted from the body, according to the NUCDF.

In urea cycle disorders, nitrogen builds up in the blood in the form of ammonia, a highly toxic substance. The ammonia then reaches the brain, where it can lead to irreversible brain damage, coma and/or death.

In Hefford's case, physicians believe her excessive protein intake may have led to the rapid buildup of ammonia in her blood and accumulation of fluid in her brain, Refinery 29 reported.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Hefford drinking a protein shake in the gym
2. Normal urea cycle removing nitrogen and converting it to urea
3. Urea cycle disorder leading to a building up of toxic ammonia
4. Ammonia reaching the brain and causing death

VOICEOVER (in English):

Bodybuilder Meegan Hefford's death is being blamed on an excessive intake of protein shakes in Australia. She had just begun a protein-rich diet, unaware she was suffering from urea cycle disorder.

The urea cycle removes nitrogen a waste product created during protein metabolism from the blood, and converts it into a compound called urea, which is then excreted from the body in urine.

A urea cycle disorder is caused by a mutation that leads to a deficiency in one of the six enzymes in the urea cycle, that then leads to a buildup of nitrogen in the form of toxic ammonia in the blood.

The ammonia reaches the brain, where it can lead to irreversible brain damage, coma and/or death.

SOURCES: Yahoo 7 News, National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation, Refinery 29

https://au.news.yahoo.com/wa/a/36710606/body-builder-meegan-heffords-death-blamed-on-protein-shakes/#page1
http://www.refinery29.com/2017/08/167981/bodybuilder-death-urea-cycle-disorder
http://www.nucdf.org/ucd.htm