A method to control plasma particle an energy confinement in the TJ-II Heliac devices is reported A small toroidal current is induced in the plasma with the aid of a 0.2 Wb air core transformer. Plasma particle and energy confinement improve (degrade) with negative (positive) plasma current. For typical TJ-II discharges plasma density and temperature broaden considerably when plasma current is sufficiently negative, accounting for a 40% increase in stored energy. The experimental results agree qualitatively with the paradigm of instability growth rate modifications with magnetic shear. (Author) 18 refs.