Aging is associated with a decrease in growth hormone (GH) secretion, appetite and energy intake. As ghrelin stimulates both GH secretion and appetite, reductions in ghrelin levels may be involved in the reductions in GH secretion and appetite observed in the elderly. However, only preliminary studies have been performed on the role of ghrelin in elderly subjects. In this study, we sought to clarify the physiologic implications of the age-related alterations in ghrelin secretion by determining plasma ghrelin levels and other clinical parameters in healthy elderly subjects. Subjects were ≥ 65 years old, corresponding to the SENIEUR protocol, had not had a resection of the upper gastrointestinal tract and had not been treated with hormones. One hundred and five volunteers (49 men and 56 women) were admitted to this study (73.4 ± 6.3 years old). Plasma levels of acylated ghrelin in elderly female subjects positively correlated with serum IGF-I levels and bowel movement frequency and negatively with systolic blood pressure. In elderly men, desacyl ghrelin levels correlated only weakly with bowel movement frequency. These findings suggest that the plasma levels of the acylated form of ghrelin may influence the age-related alterations in GH/IGF-I regulation, blood pressure and bowel motility. These observational associations warrant further experimental studies to clarify the physiologic significance of these effects.