Orexin-A and ghrelin are two important polypeptides that stimulate food intake, however, there is a lack of sufficient information concerning their plasma levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between plasma orexin-A and ghrelin levels with food consumption and body composition in patients with stable phase COPD. In total, 40 patients (age, 44-80 years; male, 31; female 9) who were in the stable phase of COPD were included in the study. Blood samples for plasma orexin-A and ghrelin analysis were collected after 8-12 h of fasting; certain anthropometric measurements were obtained and a 24-h dietary recall was recorded. The mean plasma orexin-A levels in the male and female patients were 1.3 +/- 0.37 and 1.4 +/- 0.13 ng/ml, respectively, while the mean plasma ghrelin levels were 25.9 +/- 7.31 and 27.3 +/- 8.54 ng/ml, respectively. No significant correlation was observed between the body mass index and plasma orexin-A and ghrelin levels or between the plasma ghrelin levels and dietary nutrient intake (P>0.05). The plasma orexin-A levels were demonstrated to be higher in patients with a higher dietary total fibre intake (r=0.303, P=0.022). A similar correlation was observed between plasma orexin-A levels and dietary intake of soluble (r=0.033, P=0.029) and insoluble (r=0.335, P=0.024) fibre, as well as between the daily consumption of calcium and the levels of plasma orexin-A (r=0.065, P=0.046). Therefore, the results of the present study indicated that a positive correlation existed between dietary nutrient intake and plasma orexin-A levels in patients with COPD.