Re Gastritis. This is not one of the more common symptoms of using ALA; however, I've read a few reports of it over the years. I'm sorry that you had that very unpleasant experience. Since that symptom is not frequently discussed in the chelation groups, I don't know what Cutler and others suggest for it. You might search the Googlebooks version of his Amalgam Illness book for the term.
Pastet89: " If you open the Yahoo group you will see tons of people, chelating for 2, 3, even 5 years with no progress!"
That is ridiculous! Just today a woman with a history of fairly severe chemical sensitivities (MCS) posted a 1 yr update. Her experience is fairly typical for those with MCS--slow gains over many months along with much struggle to tolerate supplements that are usually helpful. She certainly has renewed hope for a better life! http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/frequent-dose-chelation/message/117018
From my 3.5 yrs in the chelation groups at Yahoo and Curezone I've followed many very encouraging cases--dreadful early reports, many struggles in the early months, and slow gains over many months. The gains are usually retained after people stop taking supporting supplements.
There are also many dreadful cases--severe mental illness with "burning brain", terrible cases of MCS where they can only eat a half dozen foods. A few seem too far gone mentally and don't have any family support. Even some of them get nice gains, although this is more common among young adults rather than seniors. I really did not think the following teen would be able to overcome the opposition of his parents and doctor friend, not a teen who had to drop out of high school due to the mental confusion! However I recently received a message from him that he is taking college classes after roughly 2.5 yrs of Cutler protocol! http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/frequent-dose-chelation/message/64260
( 1 yr update)
In contrast his most noticeable improvement in the early months of Cutler detox was that he did not cry as often!
For those who are trying to determine which type of detox to use, I suggest that you pay attention to several factors:
Don't just focus on the substance--chelator--being taken but also the dosing schedule or "protocol." The chelator may be quite useful if taken on a certain schedule and quite dangerous on another. For example we need water for survival but also drown on it.
For example there are many horror stories about DMPS at dmpsbackfire.com; however most of those are from people who received a blast of it via IV. In contrast, from my 3+ years in the chelation groups, small 5mg doses taken every 6 or 8 hrs for a long weekend with antioxidant support (Cutler's protocol) is the method that the very sickly members are most likely to tolerate in the early months of detox.
Has the person stopped exposure to the toxin before starting a detox process? Removal of "silver" Amalgam fillings (50% mercury!) is an obvious example. However, if you are getting too much lead or arsenic from your well water the use of a chelator would *increase* your absorption of the toxin!
Consider the track record of the detox substance(s). When I was learning about detox I narrowed down my choices to Boyd Haley's new OSR chelator and Cutler's protocol. While OSR looked quite promising, I decided it was a safer bet to use Cutler. DMSA and DMPS have been around for 40+ yrs. Lipoic acid (ALA) is naturally used in the body since we get some from certain foods. OSR was later pulled from the market by the US FDA.
Where is the detox substance made/grown? You would not want to use something that has the ability to bind heavy metals but is also grown in our toxic environment!
If you have the time to wait before starting, consider going to one of the big Yahoo groups such as Frequent Dose Chelation and follow the cases of a few very sick new members over many months. It seems less likely that a dazed and very sick person will make up many dozens of dishonest posts over many months while they are struggling to follow the detox protocol, etc. When I was new to detox, I was impressed that even some of those very mentally dazed members were getting gains over many months. It was clear from the changes in their writing that they were gaining mental capacity.
Of course no one claims that all illness is due to toxins! Cutler very clearly states that if a symptom is not responding to treatment over many months, it is important to go back to the differential diagnosis process to look for another cause or contributing factor.
For those who want to learn more about Cutler's system, check out this audio discussion between Cutler, PhD Chemistry, and Dr Dan Pompa, DC. Both had mysterious symptoms that their doctors were slow to address. They struggled to find a cause but reported much improvement. http://www.healthcentersofthefuture.com/DrCutler/
Good luck to you as you search for a cause or contributing factors in your health difficulties.