Dietary creatine supplementation is associated with increases in muscle mass, but the mechanism is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that creatine supplementation enhanced myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) and diminished muscle protein breakdown (MPB) in the fed state. Six healthy men (26 ± 7 yr, body mass index 22 ± 4 kg/m2) were studied twice, 2-4 wk apart, before and after ingestion of creatine (21 g/day, 5 days). We carried out two sets of measurements within 5.5 h of both MPS (by incorporation of [1-13C]leucine in quadriceps muscle) and MPB (as dilution of [1-13C]leucine or [2H5]phenylalanine across the forearm); for the first 3 h, the subjects were postabsorptive but thereafter were fed orally (0.3 g maltodextrin and 0.083 g protein. kg body wt-1 x h-1). Creatine supplementation increased muscle total creatine by approximately 30% (P < 0.01). Feeding had significant effects, doubling MPS (P < 0.001) and depressing MPB by approximately 40% (P < 0.026), but creatine had no effect on turnover in the postabsorptive or fed states. Thus any increase in muscle mass accompanying creatine supplementation must be associated with increased physical activity.