Urine was collected in five healthy men over 10 to 14 days, with fasting blood samples on days 1, 5 and 10, whilst they consumed a standard creatine-free diet, which was quantitatively related to their body surface area. The urinary excretion of 3-methylhistidine fell to a plateau by day 5 in all subjects. Myofibrillar protein catabolic rate calculated from the mean value of 3-methylhistidine excretion from day 5 to day 10 averaged 1.21 g day/sup -1/ kg/sup -1/ body weight. The average turnover of muscle myofibrillar protein was calculated to be 2.16%/day. From a previous study using continuous intravenous infusion of L-(a-/sup 15/N)lysine with serial muscle biopsies on the same subjects, the mean myofibrillar protein synthetic rate was calculated to be 0.82 g day/sup -1/ kg/sup -1/ body weight, and the mean turnover rate was 1.47%/day of total muscle myofibrillar protein. The estimations of myofibrillar protein turnover rate derived from the two methods are compared and the differences discussed.