Immunity 101

Constantly Defending Good Health

All animals — and humans — come into the world with an immune system that provides protection for their health, proven effective over countless generations.

A growing body of research shows that what animals eat or drink can affect the efficiency of the immune system. Interpreting such scientific findings and knowing what questions to ask for practical guidance requires a basic understanding of the immune system.

The animal’s skin and epithelial tissues provide a barrier to keep pathogens outside the animal. If, however, viruses or bacteria get past the barrier, the immune system springs into action.

The health of cattle, pigs, poultry, and other vertebrates benefits from both innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Effective vaccination depends on adaptive immunity.


…the first line of immune defense against a wide variety of pathogens

Responses of the innate immune system are "non-specific" — they do not distinguish between invaders.

Instead, they respond to features that are common to many types of pathogens.


...targeted protection against specific disease-causing agents

Adaptive (acquired) immunity works alongside innate immunity to protect against specific disease-causing agents.

This includes viruses and pathogenic bacteria.

Immune Strength for All Species

Diamond V® postbiotic feed additives* work naturally* with the biology of the animal to support immune health across food animal, companion animal, aqua, and other species.

Immune System Performance Graph

Frequently Asked Questions

Even the simplest forms of life include health defense systems inherited from their genetic predecessors. Evolving over billions of years, immune systems now help protect the health of countless species, including humans and food animals.

No — although all immune systems have a similar role and many features in common. Shrimp, for example, are crustaceans with an exoskeleton rather than a backbone and internal skeleton. Shrimp benefit from a form of innate immunity, whereas vertebrates, animals with a backbone, including most fish and all poultry and livestock, have both innate and adaptive immunity.


Healthy Barriers:
Basic Protection


Innate Immunity:
Efficient Response


Adaptive Immunity:

Humans and most other vertebrates, including poultry, livestock, horses, and many of our pets, have “health defense in depth,” starting with physical and chemical barriers against disease-causing organisms, including the skin, mucosal membranes, and tight junctions between cells in the surface tissue of the gut.

The next level of defense is innate immunity, which provides fast-acting recognition and removal of pathogens like Salmonella and other harmful agents. Innate immunity, however, is not specific to a particular pathogen; if the pathogen survives or evades removal, then adaptive immunity comes to the rescue.

Adaptive immunity involves a “memory” of the pathogen and takes time to produce specific immune cells and antibodies to fight infection. It also requires more metabolic energy, which takes away from energy available for body maintenance, growth, and reproduction.





A healthy gut, or GI tract, is essential for optimal immune function because it is a primary source of immune cells that fight disease throughout the body.

A healthy gut is a well-developed organ with strong tissue integrity. It’s also home to a large and healthy population of beneficial microorganisms that help support the immune system.

Our immune system is a highly sophisticated and effective health defense system. We don’t want to “boost” or stimulate it too frequently or unnecessarily, as that can cause problems and waste metabolic energy.

Rather, we want to protect the immune system and support it.

Diamond V scientists continue to develop a large and increasingly significant body of research to better understand immunity in people and animals. Their work define the most effective and efficient ways to support immune function at home and on the farm.