March 2011 Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are one of the most frequently prescribed medications. They are used for GERD. PPIs are available both over the counter and by prescription. GERD can be caused by obesity although it can also occur in normal weight people. Since symptoms of GERD are chronic these meds may be taken for years. A recent report found that regular use for a year or more can cause potentially dangerously low levels of magnesium. Magnesium is a very important mineral that plays a role in hundreds of reactions in the body. Some of the more serious effects of low magnesium levels are severe muscle spasm, seizures, high blood pressure and irregular heart beats.
The safest non-drug treatment for obesity related GERD is weight loss. A carbohydrate restricted diet can provide almost immediate relief of this condition for people with obesity or even normal weight people with GERD. Foods that are removed when following a low carb plan can trigger GERD. Clinicians who have experience with low carbohydrate plans know how rapidly this kind of diet change can treat GERD negating the need for these meds and their dangerous side effects.