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Celsius Energy Drink Banned by NCAA for Containing Illegal Substances



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For many people, cracking open a cold Celsius before a workout or when you need an extra boost to get through the day seems relatively inconsequential. That’s not the case for collegiate or Olympic athletes. The Celsius energy drink is banned by both the NCAA and the Olympic committee for containing a number of illegal performance stimulants. 

Celsius, which was founded in 2004, was legal under NCAA rules until the 2021-2022 banned substance list was updated to include Celsius and many of its ingredients. A study done by the NCAA found Celsius to contain ginseng, guarana, L-carnitine and taurine, all of which are currently banned by the NCAA, the Olympic committee and even the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

Taurine is one of the main ingredients considered to be a performance enhancing substance. Studies have shown that taurine can increase exercise capacity, but can also have negative impacts on heart health when combined with too much caffeine or other stimulants. The use of taurine in energy drinks is still being studied, but is widely controversial. In addition to negative impacts on heart health, taurine combined with stimulants has been shown to increase anxiety and disrupt sleeping patterns.

While Celsius is in hot water for some of the banned substances listed in its ingredients, they’re also facing a lawsuit for what’s not listed as an ingredient. The heavily caffeinated energy drink proudly states that it contains no preservatives, but a recent lawsuit shows Celsius being sued by the NCAA for containing the preservative citric acid.

The popularity of energy drinks has exploded in recent years, especially among the younger generations. This trend is concerning considering we don’t know too much about the long-term health impacts of these drinks and their ingredients. If something that the average person can walk into a grocery store or gas station and grab off the shelf can be banned by some of the largest athletic governing bodies in the world, it really makes you question what we’re putting into our bodies on a daily basis.

As the intake of energy drinks continues to increase, so do the studies on the ingredients that they contain. Many large corporations have trials currently running to test the long-term impacts of these beverages. As we find out more about energy drinks and their dangerous levels of caffeine and other stimulants, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the NCAA’s banned list continue to grow.

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