Take a closer look at your supplements

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HOUSTON - If you are faithfully downing omega-3 fatty-acid supplements daily, this may be a tough pill to swallow. Pill-poppers' efforts to decrease their risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis or macular degeneration may be in vain.

According to Women's Health Magazine, recent tests done by ConsumerLab.com found 31% of the omega-3 fatty acid tested did not live up to their label claims.

Researchers examined 35 kinds of omega-3 fatty acid supplements that contained fish oil, krill oil, calamari oil, cod liver oil and algae oil. Some products had less fatty acids than their labels claimed. Others had more. Two supplements exceeded safe levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), a chemical used in coolants. One tablet's enteric-coating did not work, which means the special coating meant to release the oil in the intestine rather than the stomach spilled the oil too early in the digestive system.

The FDA does not regulate supplements, but there are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe.

"If you regularly eat fish at least twice a week you don't need to take omega-3 supplements because you're likely already getting enough," said Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com.

He also encourages people to store their supplements safely. Fish oil supplements last longer if you refrigerate them.

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