Beta-alanine in blood-plasma when administered as A) histidine dipeptides (equivalent to 40 mg . kg(-1) bwt of beta-alanine) in chicken broth, or B) 10, C) 20 and D) 40 mg . kg(-1) bwt beta-alanine (CarnoSyn, NAI, USA), peaked at 428 +/- SE 66, 47 +/- 13, 374 +/- 68 and 833 +/- 43 microM. Concentrations regained baseline at 2 h. Carnosine was not detected in plasma with A) although traces of this and anserine were found in urine. Loss of beta-alanine in urine with B) to D) was <5%. Plasma taurine was increased by beta-alanine ingestion but this did not result in any increased loss via urine. Pharmacodynamics were further investigated with 3 x B) per day given for 15 d. Dietary supplementation with I) 3.2 and II) 6.4 g . d(-1) beta-alanine (as multiple doses of 400 or 800 mg) or III) L-carnosine (isomolar to II) for 4 w resulted in significant increases in muscle carnosine estimated at 42.1, 64.2 and 65.8%.