The effects of age on basal, meal-stimulated, and human gastrin-17-stimulated gastric acid secretion rates and serum pepsinogen concentrations were evaluated in 41 healthy men and women. Older subjects (ages 44-71 years; mean, 57 years) had higher mean basal, meal-stimulated, and gastrin-17-stimulated acid secretory rates and basal serum pepsinogen I and II concentrations than younger subjects (ages 23-42 years; mean, 33 years). Age-related differences in acid secretion were especially prominent in men, and age-related differences in serum pepsinogen I and II concentrations were more prominent in women. Higher gastric acid secretion rates in older subjects could not be explained by body size (height, weight, body surface area, or fat-free body mass) or by the higher incidence of infection with Helicobacter pylori. Using a multivariate linear regression model, age had an independent positive effect on acid secretion, and H. pylori infection had an independent negative effect. It was concluded that aging is associated with an increase in gastric acid secretion in humans, especially in men, while infection with H. pylori is associated with lower acid secretion rates.
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