I used Prilosec for about 20 years. It was especially easy given the OTC designation and the continual media blitz. But the implications for other problems just seemed too compelling albeit, not 100% conclusive.
Having searched for alternatives, I finally stumbled onto using apple cider vinegar. I’m not particular fond of so called natural cures, as I find most of them either are outright snake oil, or have little effect. But I will say that I’ve been off of PPIs for over a year now and the vinegar works better than anything I’ve tried, bar none. And it’s fairly immediate. It may be that it affects the stomach contents but my impression is that it also causes the sphincter (LES valve) to temporarily tighten up, thereby not allowing stomach acid to reflux.
I typically use about 1 tablespoon in 6 oz of water, and do that twice a day (morning and night). I supposed one could do it more often as well. This is the typical bottle of apple-cider vinegar you find in the grocery store (5% acidity). I read to rinse your mouth afterwards with water, because of the acidity but found no evidence that it’s necessary.
Lastly, I also increased my acid by taking Betaine HCI 350mg (hydrochloric acid pills with Pepsin). The premise is that many people with GERD actually do not have enough acid, the food sits in the stomach and “stews” causing higher pressure in the stomach which in turn, causes acid to go back up the esophagus.
Just doing these two things has made a world of difference and both are very inexpensive ways as a possible alternative. Google the use of the HCI to understand how much to use however. They generally have you start out with up to 3 pills with each meal until you feel a slight burning. Then you back off the quantity until there’s no burning. That becomes the amount one uses.