Vitamins are essential biomolecules that act as both catalysts (meaning a substance that increases or decreases the rate of a chemical reaction) and substrates (meaning a molecule that is acted upon by an enzyme) in chemical reactions and are required in very small amounts for essential metabolic reactions in the body. With the exception of biotin, vitamin D and vitamin K, the body cannot manufacture vitamins — they must be obtained through food or nutritional supplementation. There are 13 known vitamins categorized as either fat-soluble (meaning absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids) and include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K or water-soluble (meaning dissolves easily in water) and include eight B vitamins and vitamin C. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins for long periods of time while water-soluble vitamins (excluding vitamin B12) remain in the body for a short period of time and must be replenished more frequently.


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is native to Iran and was likely domesticated during the Bronze Age to feed horses arriving from Central Asia. It was later used in Greece around 490 B.C. as horse feed for the Persian army. The name alfalfa comes from the Arabian al-fac-facah, for “father of all foods”. A perennial herb, alfalfa was and is easy to grow, thriving in many varied climates throughout the world, and provides an excellent protein-rich food source for cattle, horses, sheep and other animals.

The Definition of Health

In the medical field, health is commonly defined as an organism’s ability to efficiently respond to challenges (stressors) and effectively restore and sustain a “state of balance” known as homeostasis.

Health is the level of functional and/or metabolic efficiency of an organism at both the cellular and social level. The word “health” comes from the Old English word hale, meaning “free from disease or infirmity”.

In humans, it is the general condition of a person in the mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain (referred to as “in good health” or “healthy”).

In 1946, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [1]. The highest possible attainment of health is a fundamental right of every human being without distinction of any kind.


  1. Grad FP. The Preamble of the Constitution of the World Health Organization. World Health Organization. 1946.