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Marie Osmond's son Michael Blosil commits suicide: What you need to know

Michael Blosil, the 18-year-old son of Marie Osmond, jumped to his death Friday night from his downtown Los Angeles apartment, media reports said.

Michael Blosil left a note saying he intended to commit suicide because of his life-long battle with depression that left him feeling as if he had no friends and could never fit in.

Michael Blosil is not alone.  An estimated 15 to 20 percent of teens in the United States experience depression on some occasions.  The problem many people may not be aware of is that the drugs used to treat the health condition can actually worsen the condition.

One study reported early on foodconsumer.org suggests that people under age 25 may be better off avoiding use of antidepressants as these drugs actually raise risk of suicide in this age group.

This is not some study conducted by some advocate group.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers did the study and found the association between use of antidepressants and elevated risk of suicide in those under age 25.

The FDA noticed this risk and requested in Feb 2005 a so-called black box warning, the highest grade of warning, be put on the labeled to alert patients to the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. In 2007, the agency extended the warning to include adults aged between 18 and 24.

Marc Stone, Thomas Laughren and colleagues analyzed data from some 100,000 adults in 372 trials and found antidepressants increased risk of suicide in people under age 25, but reduced the risk in adults aged 65 or older.

The results were published in the British Medical Journal.

Diet or nutrition deficiency is believed to have something to do with depression, which is temporary and insignificant although the World Health Organization categorizes depression as the "No 1 cause of disability in the US and the third biggest biggest behind heart disease and strokes in Europe, according to a report by Kat Fallon published on the Serendip website.

Some nutrients have been linked to the status of mood.  Tryptophan, an amino acid, is a known precursor for the production of seratonin, which is found deficient in people who are depressed, particularly those with suicidal behaviors.  This should not be the cause for Michael Blosil's depression as it is rare to have tryptophan deficiency.

The tryptophan rich foods include chicken breast, yellowfin tuna,cooked soybeans, beef, lamb loin, turkey breast, halibut, shrimp, salmon and snapper and among others. 

Fatty acids like Omega-3 fatty acids are also considered necessary to healthy mental functioning.  These fatty acids are present in the cell membranes and alterations in membrane fluidity affect behavior, mood and mental function, early studies have found.

Vitamin D deficiency which often occur in people who stay indoors and those who use sun-screens diligently may play a big role in depression, according to Vitamin D Council.  Although there is no trial evidence, but observational evidence is strong enough to suggest vitamin d deficiency can be one cause for depression, which makes sense - people are happier on sunny days.

It remains unknown whether Michael Blosil was taking antidepressants, which is likely, and if he was, how long had he taken?

If your son or daughter suffers depression, be very careful and make sure to try the lifestyle modification before you put him or her on a treatment program.  As always, drugs are dangerous and you and your loved ones should try by all means to avoid them.

By David Liu