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Low-Carb Diet, Mediterranean Diet, for GERD

Question:
Is it true that low-carb or Mediterranean diets help for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Low-carb & Mediterranean Diets for GERD? -- Table with Mediterranean foods such as fish, olive oil, walnuts, vegetables
Answer:
There are a number of ways to reduce the occurrence and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition which causes heartburn, regurgitation, trouble swallowing and other symptoms. Unfortunately, however, low-carb and Mediterranean diets are not among the approaches with the best supporting evidence. For details, including what approaches (including dietary, lifestyle, supplements) have been shown to help and what to avoid, see the full answer >>

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COMMENTS

Joshua16850   May 20, 2018
I suffered from GERD for years, despite trying most of the recommended fixes (avoiding certain foods, elevating the head, etc.) and daily use of Nexium. Then, to my surprise, I found that the problem disappeared when I stopped eating onions. Why this is so, or whether it can be generalized, I don't know, but it worked for me. I was able to stop the Nexium and other measures and have had virtually no heartburn since.

Jeanne15182   June 20, 2017
Chewable DGL (diglyrhizinated licorice), works very well for many people in my practice.
Unlike regular licorice (herbal, not candy) it doesn't have a worry about increasing blood pressure.

I'm not associated with this company, but Enzymatic Therapy makes a great chewable.
1 tablet at the start of symptoms, for a max of 2 -work well.

ConsumerLab.com   June 22, 2017
Thank you for sharing your experience with this, Jeanne. You can find information about deglycyrrhizinated licorice in the Encyclopedia article, here: https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21674

richard15150   June 18, 2017
DGL licorice two tablets chewed 20 minutes before eating, works wonders for me. Stopped PPI and replaced with dgl

Barbara15114   June 16, 2017
I had GERD diagnosed by smptoms and an upper GI series. At the same time, i went on An Atkins diet to loose weight and ate no carbs for 18 months. Between the weight loss and the no carb diet, i have had no problems with Gerd since. That was 15 years ago. I also maintained the weght loss. Interestingly, I had significant projectile vomiting as an infant. Any studies on projectile vomiting with breast fed babies and gerd as adults?

Peggy18339   September 17, 2019
Hi Barbara15114. Have you heard anything new on the association between projectile vomiting as an infant, and adult GERD? My adult son had the vomiting and now has severe GERD that he treats with a PPI. Thanks! I hope you're still doing well with your diet.

Ruth15105   June 15, 2017
Wow! No benefit to limiting alcohol? Again, it may be individual but alcohol markedly worsens my GERD. It is thought to relax the upper esophageal sphincter. It may be worse with a hiatal hernia, but this is a fairly common condition too.

Claudia15103   June 14, 2017
A few years ago I developed pretty bad GERD. My weight dropped to 83 pounds because I couldn't eat. I was already doing the “right” things before my symptoms developed …wasn't overweight, exercised, didn't smoke, didn't drink much alcohol….I took omeprazole and it worked, but I had a significant bone loss and wanted to get off PPIs. None of the supplements or apple cider vinegar worked for me. What worked for me was drinking alkaline water. In general, I think alkaline water is an overhyped trend. But it made sense to give it a try if the issue was acid. At home I use a reverse osmosis filter with an alkalinizing cartridge, and at work I add alkaline drops to the bottled water we get. I aim for a pH of around 9. I am almost completely symptom free for over 3 years.

Claudia15102   June 14, 2017
I had GERD very bad -- my weight dropped to 83 pounds because I couldn't eat. I was already doing everything you're supposed to when my symptoms began (wasn't overweight, ate small meals, slept with my head elevated, didn't drink much alcohol...) My symptoms were relieved with omeprazole, but after I had significant bone loss I was determined to get off PPIs. I did not have any luck with any supplements but what has worked for me is alkaline water. I think in general alkaline water is way over hyped but it made sense to try it if the issue was acid. At home I have a reverse osmosis filter with an alkalizing cartridge. At work I add drops of an alkaline formula to the bottled water we get. I aim for somewhere around 9 for a pH. I am almost completely symptom free now, and my weight is healthy.

Larry15099   June 14, 2017
I'm surprised nothing was mentioned about taking pro-biotics to fight acid reflux. I had chronic acid reflux and after reading an article that pointed to the lack of good bacteria in our gut I decided to try pro-biotics.

I'm here to tell you that this works, at least for me it did and a number of people I've recommended this to. Don't buy cheap pro-biotics, most of the living bacteria they started out with is dead even before it hits the retail shelves. Try to buy a good refridgerated pro-biotic as that will guarantee you more live bacteria.

ConsumerLab.com   June 17, 2017
Thank you for sharing your experience, Larry! You can find more information about probiotics for digestive issues in the CL Answer about supplements for indigestion (https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/or+heartburn%3F/indigestion_heartburn/), linked to from the answer above. Some, but not all probiotics require refrigeration; see the Probiotics Supplements Review for tips for choosing a probiotic, how to ensure a higher number of viable cells, and proper storage (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Probiotic_Supplements_and_Kefir/probiotics/#buying) as well as our tests of popular products (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/probiotics/#results).

Bernard15095   June 14, 2017
about gerd.when i get heartburn i drink a glass of water. 9 out of 10 times it washes away the acid.(or drink milk).think about it, it makes sense. I have neuropothy in my feet.Before it got too bad,I started massaging my feet.the tingling & pain went away.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 6/13/2017. Last updated 8/15/2019.
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