The state-of-the-art of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and statistical tools for the acquisition and evaluation of complex multidimensional spectroscopic data in metabolic profiling is reviewed in this article. The continuous evolution of the sensitivity, precision and throughput has made these technologies powerful and extremely robust tools for application in systems biology, pharmaceutical and diagnostics research. Particular emphasis is also given to the collection and storage of biological samples that are subjected to metabolite profiling. Selected examples from preclinical and clinical applications are paradigmatically shown. These illustrate the power of the profiling technologies for characterizing the metabolic phenotype of healthy, diseased and treated subjects. The complexity of disease and drug treatment is asking for an adequate response by integrated and comprehensive metabolite profiling approaches that allow the discovery of new combinations of metabolic biomarkers.