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the manner in which a nonessential nutritive component, by its presence in the diet, lowers the dietary requirement for an essential component; thus, nonessential l-cysteine spares essential l-methionine and nonessential l-tyrosine spares essential l-phenylalanine.
Synonym(s): sparing phenomenon
spar·ing ac·tion(spār'ing ak'shŭn)
The manner in which a nonessential nutritive component, by its presence in the diet, lowers the dietary requirement for an essential component.
The effect of a nonessential nutrient in the diet such that it decreases the requirement for an essential nutrient. For example, protein is esp. important for tissue growth and development in children. If protein intake is sufficient but caloric intake is inadequate, a protein deficiency will develop. In this situation, the addition of sufficient carbohydrates to the diet is said to spare the protein.
See also: action