Essential Facts

CELSIUS® and the NCAA Rules

Since its founding in 2004, CELSIUS fitness drinks have been enjoyed by the most elite professional and collegiate athletes in sports all over the world. With its clinically proven formula, CELSIUS has solidified its place as a pioneer in the rapidly growing performance energy sector.

Some collegiate athletes may have questions about whether one ingredient in CELSIUS products – caffeine derived from guarana extract – raises any issues under NCAA rules.

What is the Guarana Ingredient in CELSIUS?
  • The caffeine in CELSIUS is sourced in part from guarana extract, a safe, plant-derived form of caffeine.
  • According to the Drug Free Sport AXIS, which handles the NCAA’s authoritative review of label ingredients, guarana “is not specially banned by the NCAA” but is merely an example of a source of caffeine.
  • The NCAA does not differentiate between sources of caffeine, such as coffee beans, tea leaves, soft drinks, a bar of chocolate – or guarana.

Caffeine appears on the NCAA’s Banned Substance List.1 Does that mean the NCAA Drug Testing Program bans athletes from consuming all caffeinated products, including those like CELSIUS?
  • No. It is important to understand that the NCAA Drug Testing Program does not consider an athlete to test positive for caffeine if consumed responsibility.2
  • To give perspective, for athletes weighing just 110 pounds, the International Society of Sports Nutrition estimates they’d have to drink over 500 mg of caffeine within several hours just prior to competition to test positive — and even more caffeine for athletes weighing more.4
  • According to a publication by the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute, 500 mg of caffeine is equivalent to “six or eight cups of brewed coffee, two to three hours before competition.”3
  • CELSIUS contains 200 mg of caffeine per can and recommends that consumers not drink more than 2 per day (or for CELSIUS HEAT®, 1 per day). These recommended servings will test under the NCAA’s caffeine limits for most athletes.*

* Individual test results depend on metabolism and other caffeine consumption on the day of competition. All athletes must ensure that they are educated on the health effects of any energy drink and confirm with their athletic departments and universities or colleges that there is no risk to eligibility by consuming them.5

Has any NCAA athlete ever been declared ineligible to compete due to consuming CELSIUS?
  • No. Consuming CELSIUS has never been reported as the cause of any NCAA athlete’s ineligibility to compete at the collegiate level.

More Information

The Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG)—a leading expert on dietary supplements and drugs in sport—analyzed the NCAA’s rules around caffeine and guarana at CELSIUS’s request.

BSCG’s report can be found here.*

* This report is provided for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to address each individual’s unique situation. BSCG’s analysis should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for complying with NCAA rules or a doctor’s advice.

  1. NCAA Banned Substances List (
  2. In a 2009 press release, the NCAA said its “limit on the amount of caffeine . . . was set to allow ordinary consumption of caffeine-containing beverages, such as cola, tea or coffee.” See also 2022-23 NCAA Sport Science Institute Drug Testing Program ( (stating a positive caffeine test means 15 micrograms per milliliter in a urine test).
  3. NCAA SSI’s Caffeine and Athletic Performance (
  4. ISSN Position Stand: Caffeine and Exercise Performance 2021 ( The ISSN paper discusses the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) testing threshold, which is stricter than the NCAA testing threshold.
  5. The NCAA has identified Drug Free Sport AXIS™ (AXIS) as the service designated to answer student-athlete questions about ingredients that appear on product labels. Contact AXIS at 816-474-7321 or