Muscle growth is ultimately determined by the number of nuclei in muscle. Nuclei are like central command, orchestrating all the cellular events in muscle such as telling it when to make more protein and becoming larger. One recent study hypothesized that creatine supplementation might act in a way to increase the number of nucei, which would provide a mechanism to explain its effect on enhancing muscle growth with training. The study measured satellite cells in muscle of young healthy men during 16 weeks of heavy-resistance training. Satellite cells are small immature muscle cells with nuclei that can be added to mature muscle cells to increase their growth potential given the right stimulus. This study made some very novel findings. First creatine supplementation was shown to increase the number of satellite cells during the first half of the 16 week training intervention. By the end of the 16 week study, the number of nuclei in each muscle cell was increased and the total area occupied by the muscle fibers was increased compared to controls. The study showed for the first time that creatine supplementation increases satellite cells that increase the nuclei in muscle, which ultimately allows for more muscle growth.

Olsen S, Aagaard P, Kadi F, Tufekovic G, Verney J, Olesen JL, Suetta C, Kjaer M. Creatine supplementation augments the increase in satellite cell and myonuclei number in human skeletal muscle induced by strength training. J Physiol. 2006 Apr 20; [Epub ahead of print]