The nutrient requirements determined to support optimal productivity of healthy animals may fall short of those needed to promote optimal immune responses in animals challenged by infectious disease. It may be possible to develop diets that promote optimal immune responses. What is considered optimal may change from one production system to another, or even within a system, depending on the disease environment at a given time. The goal should not always be to minimize the immune response, for in certain environments this would result in increased incidence of infection. Similarly, the goal should not always be to maximize the immune response because an overzealous response to nonpathogenic stimuli can be counterproductive.

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