Bodybuilding Meegan Hefford, a trainee paramedic, was on a special eating regime to get into shape for a bodybuilding tournament later this month.
The 25-year-old was discovered unconscious this week and rushed to hospital where doctors were stunned by how quickly a fit and healthy woman was deteriorating.
Soon afterwards she was pronounced brain-dead and passed away.
Tragically, it has emerged Meegan – who had a five-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter – had an undiagnosed condition that stopped her body breaking down protein.
“I said ‘you have to give her more time’ because she didn’t look sick, she looked beautiful”
Meegan’s mum Michelle White
The condition – urea cycle disorder – leads to potentially fatal levels of ammonia in the bloodstream and excessive fluid on the brain.
Her death certificate says she died from an “intake of bodybuilding supplements” as well as the undiagnosed illness.
Her heartbroken family have now started a campaign to restrict the sales of protein shakes.
Meegan – from Mandurah, Australia – regularly ate protein-rich foods, such as meat and egg whites.
Her mum Michelle White said her daughter had stepped up her gym routine shortly before her death and frequently exercised twice a day.
“I said to her ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down’,” her mum told perthnow.com.
“I couldn’t believe what the doctors were telling me, she was dying. I said ‘you have to give her more time’ because she didn’t look sick, she looked beautiful.”
After her death, Meegan’s children were taken to say goodbye before her organs were donated to transplant patients.
Meegan’s protein supplement usage was discovered only after her death when her mum found half a dozen containers in her kitchen, which she believes were bought online.
Now Ms White is calling for tougher regulation of these products: “I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements.
“The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”