In the present study, we simultaneously measured several polyols, such as adonitol, arabitol, dulcitol, glucose, myo-inositol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, in urine by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry-positive chemical ionization. We also examined possible relationship between the levels of these metabolites and age in normal individuals. In order to proceed to its quantification by GC/MS, 200 microL of a urine sample were diluted with 3 ml of distilled water, lyophilized, acetylated, and then analyzed them. Using this method, we were able to quantify as little as 0.5-1.0 ng/microL, and we made the calibration curves to be linear from 0.25 to 250 ng/microL (r(2)>0.991). Analytical recoveries were over 89.4%, and the inter-day and intra-day variability for accuracy and reproducibility was less than 20%. In the normal urine sample, the levels of polyols were gender-differentiated and age-related. This simple GC/MS method is sensitive and allows the measurement of wide ranges of polyols using small amounts of urine. We conclude that the quantitation of urinary polyols using GC/MS appears to be a clinically useful method for assessing polyol-pathway activity.